Some random thoughts about the soon-to-be-over Legislative session
Consider, if you will:
The Appropriations Committee yesterday (Tuesday) recommended restoring $32.5 million of Gov. Rickett’s $56.5 million in budget vetoes. Other senators suggested motions to restore more than $40 million worth of vetoed spending.
It’s been a tough budget setting session, and the final days are shaping up to be more of the same. State senators would do well to remember that time is valuable and that important matters needed to have taken precedent earlier in the session.
There’s no arguing that budget cuts have to be made this session. Just keep in mind that a cut here and a cut there means someone else, somewhere will be affected.
For example, if you are a parent of a soon-to-be college student attending UNL or any of the state colleges in Nebraska, that trimming will likely cost your son/daughter more in tuition and fees.
It would take at least 30 votes to override any line-item vetoes issued by the governor. That could be tough, considering the budget bill passed with 36 votes of approval. But some of those 36 weren’t solid yeses. Also, a year from now some of those who voted yes face re-election. That’s important to note, because lawmakers who tend to vote against the Governor’s wishes become targets for ouster come election time.
Felons can’t vote, but...
In a rather strange turn of events, state senators failed to override Gov. Ricketts’ veto of a bill that would have eliminated a two-year waiting period for people convicted of felonies to vote. The same elected officials voted 46-0 to allow felons in Nebraska to legally possess archery equipment and hunting knives. Who says the ballot box isn’t a more dangerous place for some?
Everyone should read more
There has also been some debate about whether to let third graders move on to fourth grade if their reading scores aren’t up to snuff. Getting kids to read these days is a problem. Heck, getting many of their parents to read is a problem.
It’s easy for adults to be critical of what is and isn’t accomplished in schools. But the world we live in today is far, far removed from what it was like when most of those setting the rules were in school.
We enjoyed a recent conversation with an elderly gentleman who thought kids today didn’t have enough of a grasp on history. He said he was in high school 64 years ago. We reminded him then, that today’s high school student not only learned the history he did, but also 64 more years of it.
And thanks to many of those who set those rules, it’s about state assessments and other measuring sticks. A lot of actual teaching time has been replaced by assessments and pouring over data.
We don’t think the answer to reading issues is as simple as holding someone back a year. It may involve a rigorous summer school or after school program for those kids.