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Talking straight about House Demo walkoutPosted Saturday, March 19, 2011, at 10:04 AM
It's time to talk straight about the walkout of Indiana House Democrats.
It's time to talk about this exodus to an Illinois hotel to avoid debating, compromising or doing their part to work the legislative process just the way it was done when the Democrats held the majority.
The last election sent a clear message that the majority of Hoosiers didn't want to play the game and walk the legislative path like it had been done before.
The voters said change was needed and they gave the Republicans a 60-40 majority and a mandate to orchestrate change in our schools, the way we deal with unions, and the budget.
Sure, the education reforms crafted by the Daniels administration and the state Department of Education may be extreme in some cases, but that still doesn't give the lawmakers the right or a free ticket on this one.
When they made the decision to walk off their jobs more than four weeks ago it should have sent Hoosiers into a clamor of disgust.
Bringing it home, what would we think if the lone Republican member of the Greene County Commissioners simply walked off his part-time elected job just because he didn't like something or a series of things that other two Democrats in the majority were proposing?
I think we would be appalled and calling for his resignation.
It's time call this political cry-baby game in Indianapolis what it is -- a simple neglect of duty.
It's time to talk about how the Feb. 22 walkout has literally shut down state government, the result of a political temper tantrum that's worse than any playground bully lurking on Hoosier school playgrounds.
A lot of good bills to help many people -- young and old across this state -- have died while the House Democrats have been caucusing across the state line to avoid arrest.
It's time to talk about how the Democrats elected in the Indiana House should be ashamed of the way they have betrayed the trust of the voters who put them in this elected office.
I say fine them and fine them stiff -- more than the $350 a day fine now imposed.
If that doesn't work, arrest them, censure them, impeach them, kick them out of office.
The voters are watching and taking names.
Election day is coming. That's reality.
Schools to keep transportation funds
Local public school districts across the state won a major legislative victory Wednesday that could allow them to keep precious transportation dollars rather than share them with charter schools in their areas.
A part of the original House Bill 1002 would have required school districts to share a portion of their state aid for transportation with charter schools, which are free public schools that are independently run.
The Senate Education Committee stripped that provision out when the bill passed out of committee by a 8-2 vote.
The committee passed version of the bill also:
* Raised to 75 percent the proportion of teachers in a charter school who must hold or be working toward a teacher's license, up from 50 percent in the filed version of the bill.
* Limits reuse of empty traditional schools. School districts will now have two years to find a use for an empty school building before they could be required to turn it over to a charter school.
* Removed mayors of smaller Indiana cities -- like Linton and Jasonville -- as potential sponsors of new charter schools. The bill will expand sponsoring authorities to include private universities and a new statewide charter school board.
* Added teachers to the process of converting traditional schools to charter schools. If at least 51 percent of parents in a traditional public school district vote for conversion, the decision also would now need 51 percent of the school's teachers to sign off.
The revised bill now goes to the full Senate and back to the House for approval.
Nick is assistant editor for the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached by telephone at 847-4487 or 1-800-947-4487; by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org .
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