What a difference a year makes. Back in January of 2020, legislators were tripping all over themselves in a rush to see who could spend more of the money that was coming to the state coffers. This year we are in the middle of a politician caused recession and a panic resulting from a real or imagined health crisis.
As predicted, there is a laundry list of bills that saw an early death because of the abrupt and ill-advised early termination of the previous session. Most of these are being brought back again.
It was also predictable that we would have a high number of bills relating to election integrity, and the predictions appear to have been correct.
What was not so easily predicted is the large number of education related bills, especially since so much was done in this area during the 2019 and 2020 sessions.
An area of concern for fiscal conservatives is the number of appropriation bills introduced. We have counted a minimum of 70, and we are only one week into the session. This is particularly troubling because so many of these appropriations are in addition to what happens during the budget process.
As far as committee activity goes, this first week was very light. Of the bills we are tacking, only a handful experienced committee hearings, and they all cleared their hearings handily. Here are some examples.
HB2020 – schools; child care; reduced fees Requires that schools that engage in child care charge less to school employees. This doesn’t make sense. If schools want to provide this service to others, everyone should pay the same fee consistent with sound economic practices. It passed the House Education Committee 8-2.
HB2022 – schools; resources; services; consolidation grants Most people would agree that consolidating resources and services is a good thing for public schools. But if the goal is to save money, why do we need grants? It passed the House Education Committee 8-2.
SB1012 – community colleges; lease-purchase agreements; indebtedness Increases both the term and the dollar limit of community college indebtedness. Is this a good thing at a time when we should instead be tightening our financial belts? It passed both the Senate Education Committee and the Senate Finance Committees by equal margins of 9-1.
SB1018 – DCS; report requirement Requires the department of child safety to report certain events in an effort to avoid unforeseen problems with adoption. It passed the Health and Human Services Committee 8-0
Next week we will be treated to a lot more committee hearings on bills we are tracking. The activity will be dominated by education and election issues, among them:
HB2121 – schools; superintendents; severance packages; prohibition Ends the practice of awarding huge severance packages to school superintendents. We favor this bill.
HCR2005 – English language education; requirements. This bill, if passed, will send to the voters a proposition to overturn Prop 203, enacted by voters in 2000. A major requirement of Prop 203 is that English learners be taught in English in English speaking classrooms. Anyone who has learned English via this type of immersion, this writer included, knows that this is the only effective way to learn a foreign language in a foreign land. Those people who support HCR2005 are very ill informed, or have a more sinister plan in mind. We definitely oppose this bill.
HB2054 – voter registration database; death records This is one of many election reform bills that will be considered this session. HB2054 deals specifically with cleaning up the voter rolls. This is a very good bill.
Those readers who wish to view complete reports on what is going on with the bills we are tracking may get that information by going to:
Both sites provide opportunities for readers to make comments, including suggestions for bills to add to our tracking list.