Week 12 of the legislative session is wrapped up. I have used a lot of space in this column to communicate with you about two of the signature issues of the 2013 General Assembly, Medicaid expansion and education reform. I'll make one more comment about education, and then move on to a few of the lesser issues that have been dealt with this year.
This morning (Thursday) we had the final vote on the Senate version of the education reform bill. Senator Brad Zaun had introduced an amendment that simply required the Department of Education to provide a 5 year assessment of their work, a report card if you will, and to report that to the Legislature. Again, that was ruled "non-germane" by the Senate President; if it's ruled non-germane a recorded vote will not be taken on the amendment. That protected the majority party members from actually having to record their vote in opposition to accountability. This simply affirms the sad reality that many believe that more money, rather than accountability, is the key to education reform. The House and Senate versions of education reform are very different, and now will go to a conference committee for resolution.
The Senate passed a bill, on a party line vote, that requires the DAS (Department of Administrative Services) to convene a task force and propose a plan and an implementation timeline to require all capitol complex cafeterias and all buildings in which the executive branch agency has an office to conform to the most current dietary guidelines of the American Heart Association or USDA. This strikes me as "feel good legislation" that spends state resources for promoting good eating habits that should be left to individuals. This now goes to the House where it probably will be dead on arrival.