Amid Confusion, House Ed Introduces ���futile��� Resolution Rejecting Portions Of Science Standards

Amid much confusion, the House Education Committee voted along party lines this morning to introduce a concurrent resolution repeating its earlier call for deleting portions of proposed school science standards, even though the Senate Education Committee already has voted to approve the standards – which means they’ll take effect.

“It’s just a formality,” said committee Chair Julie VanOrden, R-Pingree. “It’s just codifying the fact that we rejected this rule in committee. … We have to send a concurrent resolution forward on it.”

Rep. Lance Clow, R-Twin Falls, said, “Unless we have an agreement with the Senate to also concur in this, I don’t see why we’re doing this. If they already agreed not to reject the rule, I don’t see why we have to go through this step.”

Rep. Patrick McDonald, R-Boise, the committee vice chair, said, “I think because of the verbiage in the resolution it’s a little bit confusing. I think it’s proper. All we’re doing is just confirming what we did.”

Committee members asked state Administrative Rules Coordinator Dennis Stevenson to explain, and he said if the House passes the concurrent resolution, it goes over to the Senate, where it would be up to the Senate committee chairman whether or not to give it a committee hearing. If he did so, and that committee approved the concurrent resolution and it passed in the full Senate, that would reverse the earlier action of the Senate committee. If the Senate committee doesn’t take up the House concurrent resolution, “This action dies,” Stevenson told the panel.

The one question the lawmakers didn’t ask Stevenson: Do they have to take this step? Asked afterward, he said “no.”

VanOrden told the committee, “I did not put this forward. This came from LSO onto my desk upstairs. … My understanding was this is a formality that has to happen when we reject a rule.”

Rep. Sally Toone, D-Gooding, asked, “So this is an RS today, so we’ll see this again tomorrow as a bill, and then eventually up to the floor Friday, Monday, is that what we’re expecting?”

VanOrden responded, “Yes. Concurrent resolutions … have to do with our rules process. And leadership is well aware that we have them.”

Rep. Judy Boyle, R-Midvale, said, “The good chairman is following the will of the committee. So the majority voted to reject this, she’s simply following what the committee wanted. … This isn’t an end-run. The Senate already rejected it. It’s not like we can force them to do anything that they don’t want to do.”

Rep. Gayann DeMordaunt, R-Eagle, said, “I think this is a formality and I’m perfectly comfortable taking this step. … I don’t see an end-around or game or anything besides a formality.”

Rep. John McCrostie, moved to return the proposal to sponsor rather than introduce it. “As I’ve listened to Mr. Stevenson, it would seem that the action that the Senate has already taken with regard to our action on the science standards, they’ve already made their decision in approving the entire rule. I think that this action would attempt to supersede that. … Whatever action we take, even if this gets all the way through the House, the Senate will either hold it or they’ll vote it down – at the end of the day this will be futile.”

McCrostie’s motion was rejected on a party-line vote with only the panel’s three Democrats supporting it; Rep. Ron Mendive’s original motion then passed, also on a party-line vote, to introduce the concurrent resolution rejecting portions of the science standards.

Clow said, “I agree that the RS represents the actions of the committee. I think it’s a futile motion, so I have mixed emotions about dragging this thing out again. I know the committee voted to reject this rule, and I’ll support that decision, but I think it is a futile motion.”

Stevenson said after the meeting that a committee action to reject an administrative rule, like the House committee’s earlier vote on the science standards, automatically triggers the drafting of a concurrent resolution, which would ask the other house to concur – in this case, the Senate. But there’s no requirement for the committee to pass the concurrent resolution; it can do so if it wants to.

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Amid Confusion, House Ed Introduces ���futile��� Resolution Rejecting Portions Of Science Standards

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