SB190 – Common Core Standards Bill
A joint Senate and House Education Policy Committee Meeting met in Montgomery today for a public hearing on the Common Core Standards. We heard from over 40 speakers, for and against the bill, over a 2 hour period. I appreciate everyone coming to Montgomery to speak today, sharing their thoughts, concerns and personal experiences.
I blogged extensively on the Common Core Standards earlier this week and recommend readers unfamiliar with the Common Core Standards review that blog.
While opinions varied widely between the opponents and proponents, one thing struck me the most. Opponents consistently referred to the standards as “Alabama College and Career Ready” while proponents consistently referred to the standards as “Common Core Standards”. This validates what I tweeted during the meeting; “At Joint Senate & House Public Hearing on Common Core, I think we are all having the same conversation, just hearing it differently.”
We have some decisions to make and additional work to do here. I have some thoughts and am committed to working with everyone to craft a solution. The State Board of Education meets tomorrow and that may bring further clarity. I reiterate my closing points from my earlier blog on Common Core Standards - no one supports diminishing the rigors of education in Alabama - just the opposite, we need to continue to push the envelope. However, there is a difference between a National Standard and a Federal Standard and I want to ensure we maintain that difference.
Update added 2/28 - Clarification: This was a joint committee hearing, as such no vote was taken on the bills.
SB129 - Omnibus Gun Bill
An update on SB129, the omnibus gun bill that I spoke on at Saturday’s 2nd Amendment event in Huntsville on Saturday. The bill was filed on Feb 5th and sent to the Business and Labor Committee. The committee subsequently assigned the bill to a sub-committee. This can be interpreted two ways; bad – a nice way for committee members to say they don’t like your bill and the bill forever stays in the sub-committee, dying at the end of the session, or good; the sub-committee will actually bring key stake holders to the table and through collaborative efforts, a solution to most (...not all) concerns will be addressed and the bill will come out of the subcommittee for consideration by the full committee. The latter is the case with SB129... sort of.
Over the past three weeks the Senate sponsor of SB129 has been working with a wide range of law enforcement and other stake holders. The changes were so widespread that the sponsor decided to file another bill rather than amend SB120. The resulting bill – SB264 was filed late yesterday by the sponsor. After being briefed on the global changes throughout the bill, several of us signed on as co-sponsors. Today the electronic version became available on ALISON and we’ve discovered there are a few issues to include for some reason sections of the bill are repeated throughout the bill. I’ve been told yet another version will be filed tomorrow. For those that have reviewed SB264 and provided thoughts, please understand this bill will now go through the committee process and may see further amendments, starting as early as next week.
My concern with our existing state laws continue to be those expressed at the 2nd Amendment event – several areas of our current state law places law enforcement and law-abiding citizens in conflict unnecessarily – and I’m committed to correcting that whether through an omnibus bill or a section by section approach.
Semper Fi - Bill