House Passes Due Process, Bullying Procedures
On final action today the House of Representatives passed the restoration of due process (HB 2757) for Kansas teachers on a vote of 73 to 48. The debate had taken place yesterday (see details in yesterday’s Under the Dome).
For all but one of the conservatives who blasted the idea of mandating due process for school districts as usurping local control, they had no problem at all passing an unfunded bullying mandate on the very next bill. You see, for conservative Republican legislators, local control is allowed when it disrespects a working man or woman but is perfectly acceptable when they want to force someone else to bend to their will. In other words, if I want to stop something, I cry “We must respect local control!” If I want to force something on you, “Local control is not sacrosanct.”
HB 2757 will now go to the Senate for consideration.
The House also passed HB 2758, the bullying procedures bill that mandates that school districts provide copies of bullying policies to all parents, post them on district websites with a prominent link on the homepage, and include certain additional items in district bullying plans.
KNEA supports this bill. The final action vote was 119 to 1 with the only NO vote being cast by Rep. Michael Houser (R-Columbus). Houser was the only conservative non-hypocrite on local control. In his explanation of vote he said if he opposed due process on the basis of local control, he would oppose another mandate for the same reason.
Transportation Bills Heard in K-12 Budget Committee
The K-12 budget committee held a hearing today on two bills changing the transportation formula.
HB 2697 would change the multiplier in the formula from 2.8 to 5 which would better address costs.
HB 2561 would codify the “curve of best fit” which is not in law but had been used for decades in the distribution of transportation funding.
These bills would dramatically improve transportation funding and, frankly, if we can’t get kids to school, they won’t be learning!
Many superintendents were in the committee room today to testify in favor of the bill. Additionally, there were many more superintendents who submitted written testimony in support.
There were no opponents to the bills.
Three conferees appeared as neutral. The first was Rep. Sean Tarwater (R-Stilwell) who addressed a bill that he had introduced on behalf of some constituents who found themselves in a different school from the prior year and were billed for transportation. Due to distance the families had free transportation one year and got a bill the next. Tarwater asked the committee to amend his bill in.
A parent from Johnson County (a constituent of Tarwater?) also appearing as neutral. Telling the story Tarwater just finished from the point of view of a parent. She had a very compelling story to tell about safe routes for schools.
The final conferee as neutral was Mike O’Neal representing the Kansas Policy Institute (we all know the KPI as Dave Trabert’s organization backed by dark money and set up to oppose school funding). O’Neal was generally happy that the legislature was responding to the LPA studies.
Senate Defeats Attempt to Call a Convention of the States
The Senate this afternoon took up a final action vote on SCR 1611, a resolution calling for a convention of the states to potentially re-write the entire U.S. Constitution.
There is a movement in the nation by those who believe the United States Government is, in their words, “out of control.” To that end, they wish to have a convention of the states which is allowed under the U.S. Constitution for the purpose of bringing forth amendments to the constitution to “rein in the federal government.”
The problem with this is that once called, the entire constitution would be open to re-writing. Additionally, delegates to the convention are selected by politicians. Under the common amendment process – used successfully 27 times in our history – elected representatives propose amendments and the states individually vote to ratify those amendments. Such amendments are handled one at a time and not as a block re-write of the document.
In the end, the vote was 22 to 16. Since it takes a 2/3 majority – 27 votes – to pass such a resolution, it failed.
A real win for common sense!