Statehouse roundup, 3.28.19: House Education braces for adjournment

The House Education Committee wrapped up what could be its final meeting of the year Thursday.

Committee members had a light agenda. They quickly voted to introduce a bill to add virtual, adaptive learning technology programs to Idaho’s menu of K-3 literacy interventions. Although the bill was printed without opposition, it isn’t going anywhere and won’t get a full public hearing.

Committee members also discussed potential amendments to House Bill 194, which deals with libraries filtering their wireless Internet access to block obscene materials.

As he closed the brief meeting, Chairman Lance Clow said he would adjourn the committee “subject to call of the chair.” That means House Education doesn’t have any more regularly scheduled meetings, and may not meet again in 2019, unless Clow calls them back.

Even though House Education may have wrapped up its business for the year, the Senate Education Committee will likely meet again and the 2019 legislative session appears likely to continue into next week.

Flexibility for high-performing students

The Senate signed on Thursday to House amendments to a high school student’s bill giving high-performing students scheduling flexibility.

The Senate again voted unanimously to pass Senate Bill 1060a, which Nampa High School student body president and former Senate page Sebastian Griffin helped draft.

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The bill would allow high school students who meet high standards to graduate early, or have their core classes waived so they can focus on college courses or an internship.

Griffin worked on the bill with Sen. Steven Thayn, R-Emmett.

Griffin wasn’t at the Statehouse to see his bill pass. But Thayn assured his Senate colleagues that Griffin would be watching with friends in the Dominican Republic during his spring break.

SB 1060a heads next to Gov. Brad Little’s desk for final consideration. It passed the House unanimously Monday after it was amended.

Red tape bill

Without debate, the Senate also unanimously approved a bill stemming from schools chief Sherri Ybarra’s “red tape committee.”

Ybarra brought Senate Bill 1057a after her committee of school administrators spent part of 2018 developing recommendations to eliminate a couple of repetitive reporting requirements.

The House amended the bill last week, reinstating a requirement “to include a report of progress toward the previous year’s improvement goals.” That was one of the few requirements that Ybarra wanted struck down as duplicative, but the House reinstated it and the Senate signed on Thursday.

The bill heads next to Little’s desk.

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