No joke, April Fools’ Day takes up most of the floor time
It started with a House resolution to abolish the Senate — saying that senators’ nap-times and hours of pillow fluffing were burdensome to staff and taxpayer alike. There followed a rousing round of legislative name-tag swapping accompanied by giggles and mock fist poundings in the well.
It ended when the resolution made its way to the Senate, where it was decided the House’s resolution should be “shred at length,” a play on “read at length,” which is the typical show of respect resolutions and memorials are given on the floor.
Colorado’s legislature long has commemorated April Fools’ Day, which falls roughly two-thirds of the way into each year’s session, when tired lawmakers need something to laugh about. Other pranks this year included a joke press release from House Republicans announcing that Minority Leader Brian DelGrosso was giving up his life in Loveland, and his leadership position in the House, to move with his family to an undisclosed Caribbean island.
Senate agrees to more flexible implementation of teacher evaluations
The Senate passed SB 165, which gives school districts the option to decide how much they want to figure new standardized tests in to their teacher evaluations next year. The bill got strong bipartisan support with a vote of 27-6. Many of the Republicans who voted against the measure, including Sen. Vicki Marble of Fort Collins, likely did so after an amendment to permanently allow districts to decide how to weigh standardized tests in teacher evaluations was dismissed yesterday.
The legislation comes as Colorado moves to implement new standardized tests through the Common Core and Colorado Measures of Academic Success programs.
“We have been talking with schools, districts, and teachers and getting great feedback. But any time you change assessments, you need one year to align the data. This bill will ensure that we reach our common goals — providing high-quality evaluations that support educators’ growth and ensuring that all of Colorado’s students get an enterprising, world-class education,” said Sen. Andy Kerr of Lakewood in a release. Kerr is co-sponsoring SB 165 with Sen. Mike Johnston of Denver.
The measure now heads to the House for consideration.
House unanimously approves “Right to Try” bill; local revenue streams for charter schools
With bipartisan co-sponsorship from two members of the House Health, Insurance & Environment committee, HB 1281 — the so-called “Right to Try” bill — removes regulatory roadblocks for terminally ill patients who want to try experimental drugs. The issue was popularized in the recent film “The Dallas Buyers Club.”
The measure was sponsored by Rep. Joann Ginal of Fort Collins and Rep. Janak Joshi of Colorado Springs. With the caveats that patients must get their doctors’ go-ahead and that insurance won’t cover the treatment, the bill passed unanimously today by a vote of 65-0.
In other action Tuesday, the House unanimously approved Lakewood Rep. Brittany Pettersen’s HB 1314, which would require all school districts to include charter schools in discussions about raising funding through local ballot initiatives. It would also allow districts to run initiatives to raise money for local charter schools. As Pettersen emphasized on the floor yesterday, the bill doesn’t mandate district-charter cooperation, it just allows for it.
The measure passed 65-0 and now heads to the Senate.