Today, February 10, was a really busy day at the Capitol.   Tomorrow is the deadline for bills to pass the floor in their originating house.  In layman’s terms, this means that all bills introduced by House authors must pass the House floor by tomorrow; bills written by Senate authors must pass the Senate by tomorrow.  If either house does not take action on its own bills by tomorrow, these bills will “die on the calendar.”  As a result, both the House and the Senate went in early and worked later than usual in order to get as many of their bills passed before the deadline.

Here are some updates on bills relating to issues that we are tracking:

SEX ED

HB837: As you may remember, HB837 is the sex ed bill which requires school districts to adopt an abstinence-only or abstinence-plus sex education policy.  The bill originally passed on February 2, and then Rep. Holloway entered an motion to reconsider after the bill’s passage.

On Tuesday, February 9, the House accepted Rep. Holloway‘s motion to reconsider HB837.  Originally, we thought that Rep. Holloway wanted the House reconsider his amendment to provide financial incentives to young women who did not get pregnant as teens (see Amendment 2 on the bill page).  Instead, he offered an amendment to create a teen pregnancy pilot program in each of the 9 state health districts.  The program would be a joint effort by the State Department of Health and the State Department of Education.

After this amendment was adopted, Rep. Frierson offered an amendment completely unrelated to sex ed.  His amendment deals with the state social studies framework.  The amendment reads in part, “Public school history courses may not be revised for the purpose of significantly altering generally accepted history to create bias toward an ideological position.”  We did a little digging and believe that this amendment may be a reaction to some civil rights curriculum work being done in McComb and Philadelphia, MS, by “Teaching for Change,” a partner of the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation at Ole Miss.  We want to try to catch up with Rep. Frierson to ask him about it directly in order to confirm or disprove our guess.  In the meantime, the bill will go to the Senate.  We will keep you posted as to how all of this turns out.

PRE-K

HB80: This bill is the pre-K task force bill authored by Rep. Brown.  The task force’s purpose would be to make recommendations on the funding and implementation of universal pre-K in Mississippi.  The bill passed the House Education Committee on January 29.  It was passed today on the House floor with little debate and one amendment by Rep. Buck.  The bill will now go to the Senate.

CHARTER SCHOOLS

There are several interesting developments on the charter school front.  I’m going to devote a separate blog post to these so that I can get the information above posted before midnight.  I’ll also be writing tomorrow about recent developments with Race to the Top.

Thanks for reading…stay tuned!

Rachel

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