Miscellaneous Education Changes (H.461) - May 9, 2023

Senate Floor

The Senate brought H.461 to the floor on Tuesday after skipping over it Monday. The bill makes a number of changes to education policy in the state. Senator Gulick presented the bill on behalf of the Education Committee, which had supported the bill unanimously.

Senator Perchlik spoke on behalf of the Appropriations Committee, explaining that they found the bill favorable, but had recommended the Finance Committee remove the $200K Education Fund appropriation for the for drivers education pilot program.

Senator Cummings reported on behalf of the Finance Committee. They recommended deleting the driver education pilot program due to a “lack of funding.” She is considerate of the “policy aspiration” of the drivers education program but they did not support the use of Education Fund dollars for it.

She pointed to this an example of “unfunded mandates” at the school district level, comparing it to universal school meals and other priorities that are now being taken out of the state Education Fund. She indicated that her committee would come back to this topic next year and study it at length.

Senator Campion voiced his support the proposed direction.

The Senate voted unanimously in favor of the bill, including the proposed changes from the Appropriations and Finance committees.


House Education Committee

The Committee took up H.461 on Tuesday, reviewing the most recent draft of the bill with Senator Gulick. Chairman Conlon asked about the extension of the Working Group and whether that caused any funding concerns.

They briefly discussed the drivers education program that the Senate Finance Committee had pulled out. Conlon indicated that he had anticipated this and agreed the concern was reasonable.

Conlon suggested that the Committee could vote the bill the following day.

NOTE: Because the bill was likely coming over from the Senate on Wednesday, he seemed to be referring to a House floor vote to concur with the Senate version.

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