Action is really starting to pick up in Pierre. It is the time of the session when all the agency bills which usually have little objection pass through and when the individual legislator's bills begin. I know you may all be shocked but not all legislators think the same. For this reason, many of the bills we are now starting to address are more individual and based on that particular legislator's beliefs.
This week we have already seen some competing forces work to try to address truth in advertising. Sounds like a very logical topic but House Bill 1150 last Thursday in committee was sort of like brothers and sisters going at it. In this bill, pro choice (abortion) forces tried to put in a bill that would point out deceptive advertising by the pro life (anti-abortion) forces.
Well this kind of turned into a circus, when the pro-life group who knew they had the legislators necessary to pass an amendment did so and turned the bill around so that it now affected the pro-choice group instead. In the end (of committee, not the whole battle) the committee basically 12-0 defeated the bill and the amendment. This does point out something that you have to remember. When you open up a practice act or a piece of codified law, you may have one purpose intention however, it also gives all 104 other legislators a chance to do what they want to do with it as well. So you need to determine ahead of time if the juice is worth the squeeze in opening a section of law.
The parking lot bill which allows people to keep guns locked and hidden in their cars at a place of employment passed by a wide margin in the House and now moves to the Senate. There are some hang ups over certain places that I am being told will lose federal funds if it does pass, but I am not sure if this is a scare tactic or factual? I believe it has good support over in the Senate (but remember that doesn't mean anything until the gavel drops).
The House soundly passed HB 1195, to allow schools to continue charging for drivers education and pre-school. The bill does have some vagueness which may allow for some additional services to be considered which took up a fair amount of debate on the House floor. The reason for this was legislators were concerned in larger towns that schools will now be allowed to do more services that the private sector would have done instead. While this is good for the schools to get the extra revenue, it's not necessarily good for those in the private sector who currently provide those services.
Education is going to get a lot more detailed next week. Right now amendments (recommended changes) are being accepted for consideration. There have been a few good ideas brought forward so far but nothing concrete. I have not paid too much attention to this area for the simple reason that the current bill has a very good likelihood of not being the same later as it is now. Don't get me wrong it will still include some bonus language and affect tenure, but the layout will be a lot different. I appreciate the e-mails and communications I have received to date and I have passed those onto the education committee members as suggestions.
Well I had no kids with me this week in Pierre, thankfully! We were very busy with meetings and next week will be the same. Owen, my middle child (5 years old) will be making his trip to Pierre in two weeks. So if the weather is nice, we will be out chasing the geese and if it is snowing we will bring a sled to go down the giant hill just east of the Capitol.