In Honor of Elvis’ Birthday! I just thought I’d throw together a few thoughts as we head into the second week of the 2023 legislative session. The meetings this week will continue to revolve around getting committee members–especially newly-elected freshmen and legislators who have never served on an education-related committee–acclimated to the subject matter and the procedures the committees will be following throughout the session. It will be a pretty much full slate of meetings though, with Education Finance in both the House and Senate meeting on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday mornings (8:30 to 10:30 in the Senate and 10:30 to 12:00 in the House) and the Education Policy Committees meetings from 3:00 to 4:30 in the House on Tuesday and Wednesday and from 12:30 to 2:30 on Monday and Wednesday in the Senate. One of the plusses as it pertains to the House hearings is that they have been moved to Room 120 in the State Capitol, which is equipped for virtual presentations and participation from witnesses unable to meet in-person. There wasn’t much positive about the pandemic and how it made it difficult to meet and interact with legislators, but one isolated benefit (and it’s fairly isolated) is that ZOOM allowed for remote testimony, making it much easier for witnesses from outside the metropolitan area to provide input on key pieces of legislation.
Frame of Reference for the Days Ahead. I believe I mentioned it at the December SEE meeting (at least I think I did) that a bill to look at to determine what direction the Legislature and Governor may take when assembling their education funding and policy priorities is last year’s House version of the omnibus education funding and policy bill. It obviously won’t be verbatim reproduction of that bill, but we have already seen several elements of that bill re-surface albeit in slightly different forms. We have already seen bills relating to fully funding special education (HF 18/SF 28), address the shortfall in funding for English Language Learners (HF 22/SF 21), (HF 44/SF 50) that requires school districts make menstrual products available, and (HF 58/SF 69) that establishes non-exclusionary discipline policies. I am sure more will be coming, but I think it can be a helpful exercise to determine where someone is headed based on where they have been.
So, for references purposes only, here is a link to last year’s House omnibus education funding and policy bill: HF 4300–House Final Version 2022
Surprised School is Being Held Monday. Usually after a national holiday that falls on a Sunday, school isn’t held on Monday. Elvis’ birthday is not a national holiday (Yet. I need something to do in retirement). But in the spirit of the day, how about a little Elvis video action!