The republicans in Tallahassee certainly have chutzpah, not a conscious or morals or ethics but certainly chutzpah. Look at how they have ignored the will of the people with the class size amendment, medical marijuana and land conservation. Now perhaps most brazen of all, speaker of the house Richard Corcoran is threatening to withhold all education funding unless his education train
wreck bill passes.
House bill 7055 has ballooned to several hundred pages covering many different subjects including the knee capping of public teachers unions. The fact that this breaks the singe subject law is immaterial as republicans in the state house do whatever they want.
A budget proposal that is advancing in the Legislature would make next year’s funding for Florida’s public schools contingent on the passage of Republican House Speaker Richard Corcoran’s chief education priority: a new voucher directing taxpayer dollars to private schools.
The House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday adopted a spending plan that would allocate about $8.3 billion in state funding for public schools only if an already-controversial omnibus education bill becomes law.
The legislation is House Bill 7055, which was unveiled last week and ballooned to nearly 200 pages when it was also passed by the House budget committee on Wednesday. The legislation includes Corcoran’s main stated priority for the 2018 session, the so-called “hope scholarship, which is a new voucher that would allow bullied students to attend private schools using public dollars. It also includes an especially controversial provision threatening the existence of teachers’ unions.
The language linking House Bill 7055 to the primary source of state education funding appears as what’s called “proviso” in the House’s main budget bill, the General Appropriations Act (read page 21 here). “Proviso” language is meant to be technical in nature, used to explain how funding should be spent if more detail is necessary than what’s delineated in line items. But lawmakers often write sensitive policy changes into “proviso” that sometimes go unnoticed.
It appears that Corcoran, a Land O’Lakes Republican, is hoping to make House Bill 7055 veto-proof. If the proposed language is included in the final appropriations bill, House Bill 7055 would have to be passed by the full Legislature and signed into law by Republican Gov. Rick Scott in order for public school funding to be released.
Both Corcoran and Scott are expected to announce runs for statewide office after the legislative session, which is scheduled to end March 9 — in Corcoran’s case, for governor, and in Scott’s, for U.S. Senate. The two leaders, who have had a tumultuous relationship in the past, would likely want to avoid further delaying their campaigns ahead of the November races with the messiness of a potential special session.
How is this even approaching right? Is this what my republican friends voted for? Do they want the destruction of public education or do they just reflexively vote R and then head merrily on their way?
There are problems in education though it’s far from the disaster that the right, who only cares about their donors, portrays and most of the problems were created by over two decades of complete republican rule.
Republicans should not be able to starve public education of resources and then saddle them with bad policies, lie about and distort their performance and be rewarded for it. It is time we said enough is enough and voted for people who care about and want to improve public education. Let your representatives in Tallahassee know you will remember how they voted on HB 7055.