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Sunday, February 28, 2016

The runaway train wreck that Tallahassee has become

The Florida Legislature is once again attempting to subvert the legislative process by jamming into two bill, Senate Bills 524 and 1166, nearly thirty nominally related topics. It’s become typical in Tallahassee to add bills that are going nowhere to bills that have a real chance at passing. The reason behind this is the hope that some legislators will hold their nose and ignore the things they don’t like in order to support the things they do. 

Originally SB 524 and SB 1166 were very small bills that only dealt with public universities’ performance funding and education funding.

Now the 59-page SB 524 includes the “Best and Brightest” teacher bonus plan that most teachers have rejected, forcing school districts to share their tax revenue with for profit charter schools and at least a dozen more topics. 

Then the new, 85-page version of SB 1166 now includes open enrollment that would allow students to cross district lines, high school athletics proposals that many believe would create a type of free agency and a proposal to give high impact charter schools fifteen years contracts. I want to remind you that currently high impact teachers hired after 2010 only get one year contracts. 

Most of these proposals were unlikely to pass on their own but now they have been give new life.

These are called train bills but the truth is they are more like train wrecks. I think they should be called Frankenstein bills because they are cobbled together from different bills and in the end all they create is a monster.

One proposal, almost universally supported by parents and teachers, mandatory recess, however didn’t make these train bills, which should tell you all you need to know about who are legislators in Tallahassee are truly representing.

This is not how the legislative process is supposed to work. 

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