Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Education Bills Clear Their Committees.  Both the House and Senate Education Finance Committees approved their respective versions of the omnibus education funding bills today.  Neither committee hearing featured a plethora of proposed amendments and only a few of the amendments that were proposed passed.  The amendments that carried the most weight were passed in the House Education Finance Committee, where one amendment installed a funding mechanism to provide relief to school districts with high levels of special education cross-subsidy and another amendment that would provide the Commissioner of Education with the responsibility for developing the summative assessment (AKA the star-rating system).  Neither of the committees met late into the evening, which the Legislature has largely been able to avoid over the past few years.

And let me give you my opinion on that.  There are days I feel like an old man whittling away on a porch, thinking about those halcyon days when committee meetings stretched into the wee hours of the morning.  The minority party would offer amendment after amendment, asking for a roll call vote on each amendment.  Needless to say, proceedings seem to go on forever and it got on everybody's nerves.  It was almost like a wrestling battle royal with a flock of amendments running around the ring.

The majority party played the role of Andre the Giant, tossing the amendments aside one-by-one until there were none left.
Things have changed dramatically and while not all the changes have been for the better in every sense, the process is certainly more orderly than it was way back when.  The House adopts a budget resolution, which pretty much disqualifies any amendment that seeks to spend more money on a provision without a corresponding reduction in a different provision.  Further, the minority has largely refrained over the past few sessions from running up a long string of amendments at the committee level only to have them rejected.  It also has to be added that this is not a funding year, which limits the amount of room for possible amendments.

So thanks for taking this trip down memory lane with me.

The Senate omnibus education finance bill (which does not contain the Senate's omnibus education policy bill) now moves on to the Senate Finance Committee and the House bill moves to the House Tax Committee.  While there will be spirited discussion at each stop, we probably won't see any substantive attempts to amend the bill until it hits the Senate and House floors.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

wow. Very entertaining. Andre was a true force.