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Under the Dome - March 19, 2013

Budget battle on House floor
The House spent the morning fighting over abortion limitations, broke for lunch, and returned in the afternoon to fight over the budget.

Budget battles these days are complicated by the House "pay-go" rules under which if one offers and amendment to increase spending in one area, the amendment must cut an equal amount of money from another part of the budget bill. Amendments are offered but they are always trades - trade public broadcasting for meals on wheels, trade services for developmentally disabled citizens for physically disabled citizens. As a result most amendments fail leaving the whole budget bill to the whims of a majority on the Appropriations Committee.

That does not mean they don't debate and offer amendments. But more often than not, amendments are meant to put one's opponents "on the record" for supporting public television over meals for seniors.

As we write this evening the bill is still being debated.

Senate Education Committee debates charter bill
The Senate Education Committee continued working SB 196, the ALEC charter schools bill, a version of which has already been defeated in the House Education Committee. They began this work yesterday and had hoped to finish today but were unable to do so.

They are expected to continue the discussion tomorrow.

Merriam parent Heather Ousley completes her 60-mile walk to Topeka
Heather Ousley, the Merriam, Kansas mother of three and member of Game On for Kansas Schools took three days to walk the 60 miles from her home to the Statehouse in an effort to call attention to the legislature's failure to take care of public schools.

Ousley finished her walk this morning starting at the KNEA office and walking to the Statehouse in the company of nearly 100 teachers and parents. Once there, she and members of NEA-Shawnee Mission held a press conference calling upon legislators to step up and fund our schools.

When asked about her thoughts on the school finance decision, Ousley said, "Pay up! I feel like a single mother chasing a deadbeat dad." Wow!

See photos from the event on the Kansas NEA Facebook page. Read the first news coverage on the Topeka Capital-Journal by clicking here.

What's happening on the collective bargaining front?
House Bill 2027, the anti-collective bargaining bill still sits in the House Commerce Committee. While there is some hint that the issue will be sent to a study after the legislative session, this has not been officially confirmed by Committee Chairman Marvin Kleeb. In the meantime, we must assume that the bill could come out of the committee at any time.

Take the time to contact your Representative. Ask him/her to vote NO on Sub for HB 2027 or any other plan to limit or dismantle collective bargaining for teachers.

Click here to find your Representative's office phone and email.

Click her to send an email using KNEA's "contact your legislator" web portal.

Click here to find out more about what the bill - as it is written now - would do.

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