The first deadline marks the initial time constraint a bill faces during the session. This doesn’t get covered in Civics class, but it is important to understand, so here goes. A non-funding bill must be heard (and also be approved) in all of the policy-related committees that need to address the bill in either the House or Senate by the first deadline or the bill is dead (or at least on its death bed) for the session. Once that happens, a bill heard in one house has two weeks to be meet the second deadline (March 24 this year) in the other House. Funding bills will have an extra ten days this year (April 4) to be either be included in an omnibus funding bill or be sent on its own to the floor. Don’t worry, this won’t be on the test.
As reported on the blog, the omnibus education policy bills in the House and Senate were recommended to pass by their respective education policy committees and will now take their next step in the process. As this point, the money is on both of them being folded into a larger omnibus bill that will contain the policy and funding items. That is the traditional path, but there have been instances in the past when there are separate education funding and education policy bills that are passed off the floor and then proceed to separate conference committees. It is unlikely the latter path will be trod, but it is a possibility.
Both the House and Senate bills key off the Governor’s policy initiatives but add a few items that weren’t in the Governor’s recommendations. The highlights (or lowlights depending on your perspective) include:
- Prohibition on requiring a prospective PSEO student to sign a faith statement in order
to apply or or gain admission to the post-secondary institution.
- A definition of Ethnic Studies.
- Changes in the tiered-licensure system.
- Changes in discipline policy to reduce suspensions and address disparities in suspension based on race or disability.
- Requirements on teaching American Indian Education.
Debate on these provisions will continue as the bill moves through the process.
The week ahead will move toward discussion of funding meausres. Of special interest to SEE members will be Tuesday’s Senate Education Funding Committee hearing when SF 2601
—Senator John Hoffman’s bill that would increase referendum equalization—and SF 2552—
Senator Rob Kupec’s bill that would increase debt service equalization. Another bill that will also be discussed at the meeting is Representative Bonnie Westlin’s SF 866
, which would increase local option revenue by $116 per pupil unit and increase the equalizing factor in order to hold the property tax levy in check. It will serve as another opportunity to remind lawmakers of the importance of this issue and how it has been ignored for too long.
As usual, don’t forget to contact me if you have any questions about what has happened or what might be happening. Contact me at the usual places; my cell phone at 612-220-7459 or firstname.lastname@example.org.