Schools for Equity in Education

Stay informed on what is happening at the Capitol!

Through our weekly legislative updates and Brad’s Blog, you can track the progress of education issues. We also send out action alerts when necessary during the session along with information to guide your advocacy.

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Legislative Updates

We’re racing down the backstretch of the 2024 legislative session and for education funding and policy, we’re actually closer to the final turn into the homestretch. The House passed its version of the omnibus education policy bill last Thursday night on a party-line vote of 69-61. Debate on the bill lasted almost four hours and there were several amendments, most of which were defeated on party-line votes. The amendments that received the most airtime were ones calling for the repeal of the ethnic studies standard, changes to the READ Act to incorporate language specifically highlighting the term “science of reading,” and repeal of much of the content contained in last year’s bill relating to non-exclusionary discipline. If I had gotten a nickel for every time I heard the word “mandate” uttered during the debate, I’d be off on a European vacation tomorrow without having to spend any of my own money.

I get a number of updates from legislators and this week one of them struck me as a little bit humorous. The legislator’s headline read “Session at the Halfway Point.” That may be accurate in terms of time if the legislative session runs all the way to the constitutionally-mandated day of adjournment on May 20, but so much work has already been completed in the policy committees as their respective omnibus bills begin to hit the House and Senate floors that it seems like we are at least at the three-quarters point in the process.

The Legislature returns tomorrow from the Easter break and they will be diving right in as they begin to pass major policy bills off the floor.  The Senate omnibus education policy bill is slated to be on the floor tomorrow and if the action during the last meeting of the Senate Education Policy Committee is any indication, there will likely be several amendments that seek to make changes in the bill.  There was little discussion as the bill passed out of committee on the effort to make it more difficult to ban books and other materials from the library, but I expect an amendment to that effect tomorrow.  I also expect some amendments that may try to loosen requirements around several programs enacted last year, but those amendments will likely come up short.  Still, with a razor-thin one-vote majority, there may be instances where an amendment offered by the minority party will sneak through.  It all remains to be seen.

It will be a short week ahead with the Legislature breaking on Thursday and returning a week from this Tuesday due to the scheduled Easter break and things will be happening quickly once they reconvene.  Both the House and Senate omnibus education policy bills are out of their respective committees and will be hitting the floor at some point in early April.  I have posted both of the bills as introduced, but there have been several amendments added to the bills and I will post the updated bills on the blog when they are reported to the floor with the amendments incorporated into the original text.  Here again are the bills as introduced:

HF 3782

SF 3567

The 2024 Legislative Session will complete its first stage this week as the deadline for policy bills to come out of committee is Friday, March 22.  As I wrote in my blog post from earlier today, the Senate Education Policy Committee will be releasing their version of the omnibus education policy bill tomorrow and taking testimony on the proposal.  The bill is 97 pages long, which is up about 30 pages from the Governor’s omnibus education policy proposal.  I am in the process of combing through the proposals looking for the additional material in the Senate version of the bill and should be able to provide that information after reviewing the two bills.  One major provision not in the Governor’s bill that is in the Senate proposal is clarification of rules surrounding student newspapers.  Here is a link to the Senate’s strike-everything amendment that will now become the Senate’s omnibus education policy bill:  SF 3567 Strike Everything Amendment.

Education Bill Summary

An up-to-date look at education bills currently under consideration.

SEE Side-by-Side Comparison

See the education funding priorities of the Governor, House, and Senate.

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