The Walk-Through Is Complete. At least the education portion of the conference committee's discussion of differences between the House and Senate versions has been completed. The conference committee finished that discussion this afternoon before turning to an explanation of differences in other areas of the budget, particularly health and human services. With targets for all aspects of the proceedings--taxes, spending, and bonding--yet to be determined.
One aspect that gets lost in a lot of the discussion is the role that technology plays in the legislative process these days. I often feel like an old codger sitting around talking about the old days (but I AM an old codger who sits around talking about the old days), but in an earlier era, targets had to be given to conference committees with about two weeks left in the process because after the final decisions were made, it took several days for a bill to be put together. With the advent of word processing, it doesn't take that long to put the finishing touches on a bill and get it produced in a much shorter time frame. That simply lengthens the amount of time that goes into the negotiation process, both in terms of the budget targets provided to each conference committee and then to the negotiations between the House and Senate on individual spending initiatives. Whether or not that has an effect on the final product this year remains to be seen, but I don't expect any big decisions to be made before early next week.
Story from The American Prospect. The left-of-center periodical The American Prospect has been writing a lot about education recently and here is a story from today's on-line edition about school integration.
Learning from History: The Prospects for School Desegregation