I hope the Legislature is getting close to the end of this session.
We are working to complete the budgets that must be passed before we adjourn. There are about 25 budgets that are still on our calendar. Several of these are Health and Welfare and Education budgets. Tuesday the House debated H 354, the public schools budget. This budget is for K-12 teacher pay and other items. The budget failed on a tie vote of 34-34 with two people absent. I voted for this budget because I believe that our teachers are doing a good job. The bill failed because of the fear that teachers may be teaching “critical race theory”. I can find no one in District 32 that is teaching critical race theory. I voted for the bill because it is a budget bill not a policy bill. The negative debate was about policy not the money and a budget bill is not the place to address policy! The policy should be determined by the education committee, or the local school board. I don’t support teaching critical race theory, but I do support the K-12 budget!
The House also had H 339, which was a bill to do away with mask mandates. The bill was amended because of several technical issues with the bill. I voted No on this bill because of the issues with the bill. Eliminating mask mandates in the future may be a good idea but I believe that we still need the ability to require masks in some situations. It will be interesting to see how this bill is received in the Senate. The House has sent several bills to the Senate this year that they have either held in Committee or amended.
Friday the Governor vetoed H 135 and S 1136. These are the two bills that limit the Governor’s powers in a declared emergency. I didn’t vote for either of these bills when they were originally before the House. I will not vote to override the Governor’s veto of these bills. I’m sure these two bills will be the first items on the agendas of the Senate and the House Monday morning. Each bill will be returned to the body where they originated. The House will vote to override the veto of H 135 and it will take 2/3 of the House members present to override the veto. If the House is successful, the bill then moves to the Senate where the same procedure takes place. Both bodies have to vote by a 2/3 majority to override the veto. S 1136 will start in the Senate and follow the same procedure.
I want to inform you of my up coming plans. I have knee surgery scheduled for this week. I have put it off twice and thought I had advanced the date far enough into April that we would be adjourned in this session. Unfortunately, when we recessed for two weeks it didn’t allow for me to be there for the conclusion of the session. I will pair my vote on the bills that I am able to pair. Our House rules don’t allow a pair on veto overrides. I will be watching the sessions and keeping in contact with my colleagues. Please let me know if I can help you with any issue you may have. My contacts are still the same 208-547-7447 or email firstname.lastname@example.org .