Vouchers, HB 400 proposals reset for Friday

A deal on a new state budget is getting close, but the House once again postponed SB 1181, a crucial piece of legislation needed to pass the budget.  It also has several bad amendments filed on it, including provisions from HB 400, vouchers and virtual vouchers, to name a few. It is now scheduled for debate Friday afternoon.

Another key piece of legislation, SB 1581, which is the general fiscal bill for public and higher education, was struck down on a point of order because the Senate had tacked on an amendment to allow guns on college campuses. That extra baggage violated a rule against the same bill covering more than one subject. That bill now goes back to the Senate, where it has a very short timeline to get back to the House.

All of this means we keep calling House members on HB 400 and vouchers, while we wait for all of this to get sorted out. Remember, the language from HB 400 that sponsors are trying to resurrect includes lifting the 22-1 class size cap for K-4, repealing the teacher salary schedule and taking other steps to make it easier for school districts to fire teachers and cut their pay.

The Senate and House reportedly are near agreement on a new state budget, which would cut $4 billion from the public schools over the next two years. This is close to the Senate budget plan, and, although it is not as devastating as the House budget bill, it still would cost thousands of school employees their jobs.

Please urge your members to continue calling their state representatives and keep up the pressure against deep budget cuts, against vouchers and against amendments that would do all the things that had been proposed in House Bill 400. Thanks to your calls, House Bill 400 died as a separate piece of legislation last week, but its bad ideas haven’t gone away.

Use the toll-free number, 800-260-5444, and flood the Capitol with calls!