Will this session never end? Update for May 4

/ 4 May 2012 / jennifer

At the Capitol – Update for April 30-May 4

The wrangling at the Capitol continues – it is all about a tax bill, a bonding bill and a stadium bill. No one, including rank and file legislators, seems to know what is happening from moment to moment. Since so much of the conversation is around taxes, I found these tax charts of particular interest – they provide information that can add much to the debate.

The Governor signed the 2012 K12 Omnibus bill this week (see below). This was not surprising since the conference committee report was negotiated in a bipartisan fashion and included Commissioner Cassellius weighing in on most provisions.

K12 Omnibus Provisions of interest:

  • Clarifies that a career and technical course may fulfill the chemistry or physics credit required for graduation.
  • Allows a teacher who had a one-year license and taught during the 2011-12 to teach through the end of the 2012-13 school year, amending a bill passed earlier in session that required teacher candidates to pass a basic skills test prior to obtaining a license.
  • Early graduation scholarships and military award modifications
  • Changes to the literacy aid formula adopted in 2011
  • Post-Secondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) Program open to 10th graders
  • Requirement that 35% of a school principal’s evaluation be based on student academic achievement

What didn’t happen?

Sometimes, it is just as important to look at what bills didn’t pass as which ones did. Vouchers, mayoral control of schools, operating levy dollars following students to charter schools, and mandating levies only in even-numbered years all fell off an agenda proudly touted last fall. It was most disappointing to see the integration aid work being left until next session. Nothing was done with the recommendations of the bipartisan integration task force charged by this legislature and waiting until 2013 is a poor option for parents who need to know what will be happening in coming years.

Other education bills signed into law this week:

  • HF2244 (School Trust Lands) Permanent School Fund Advisory Committee changed into a legislative commission, and director provided for school trust lands.
  • SF946 School district pilot project established to examine joint operations to provide innovative delivery of programs and activities and share resources.

Bill vetoed this week:

A Look Ahead

I made a safe bet last week that the session would end Monday April 30. So go figure!! April 30 was the Majority’s self-imposed session deadline but seemed to hold no sway as it approached. Constitutionally, the legislature can meet 120 days, so they have until May 21 – Wow, could it really go on that long???

Ask Your Legislators! Question/Comment of the Week

What do you think of the work done this year at the legislature?

Forward this on to encourage others to Learn • Network • Act!

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