This Week in the Legislature: Update from Jim Kainber

March 10, 2009 at 10:33 am Leave a comment

As the fiscal cutoff approached, Stand’s three primary legislative objective bills are still alive, albeit in a different form that was originally expected.

Stand’s banner legislation for the session, now HB 2261/SB 6048 are moving along well…so far. Having passed their committees of origin, the Senate version is being scheduled to be heard on the floor of the Senate. The House version was heard in Ways and Means on Friday, and is very likely to be in the House Rules Committee this week.

Stand continues to be at the forefront of the discussions about how these bills will be populated with key reforms, and which reforms are going to be included, and how they will be phased in. Model schools and a more toothsome definition of basic education seem to be consensus issues, and given the positive movement of Senator Oemig’s data bill (see below) it looks like there is a distinct possibility that will pass the session as well, either included in HB2261/SB 6048 or on its own. CORE 24, a revised career ladder and teacher certification, and teacher compensation remain sticking points that are being negotiated and debated. Stand is a part of all of these major conversations.

Stand’s suggestion that the reform coalition do aggressive newspaper editorial boards has been very fruitful, and our members are participating in a number of the nearly a dozen such meetings that are scheduled around the state.

Senator Oemig’s bill on a statewide education data system, SSB5941 passed from the Ways and Means Committee (money committee) and it is likely to be heard by the full Senate over the next week. This is very encouraging that Senate leadership is allowing this key reform to advance while we are working on a more comprehensive reform package.

HB 2000, regarding recruitment of math and science teachers, another of Stand’s priority items has yet to have a hearing in the Ways and Means Committee, but that committee has another week to hear it, so we are hopeful that it will be brought to a vote and sent to the full House.

Continued public pressure is important, and as the bills are scheduled to be heard in the opposite house, we will be contacting our members to turn out in force as they did before. This movement has gained so much steam, and the calls for reform are now coming from every corner of the state, that it has become clear that our elected officials must do something, or it will be a clear failure of leadership.

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Entry filed under: News Updates.

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