Monday, June 29, 2009

Session over; virtual school bill passes

The virtual school bill finished its long shameful journey today on the last day of the session, as the house voted 31-29 to adopt the amendments made to the bill in the conference committee.

The bill had a total of 56 amendments, and by the time it got to the final form voted on today, it STILL had drafting errors and unintended consequences that the carrier had to pledge, on the floor prior to voting, to work to fix in the next legislative session.

The amended bill isn't anywhere near as destructive as it started. In its first version, it made it illegal for any K-7 student to attend a virtual school on line. Virtual charter school supporters were very effective in communicating their displeasure to the Democrats who were going along with this travesty.

In the four different floor votes on the bill, there was never a single Republican vote in favor. Democrats had a gun to their head by leadership. We constantly heard, all session long, that people had never seen a bill so many hated yet were voting for. Arm twisting doesn't begin to describe it.

The most shameful moment of all was Saturday's Senate floor session, when the bill passed 16-14. The bill's chief sponsor, Senator Devlin, gave the most insipid and self-aggrandizing floor speech I have ever seen.

He knew he had to explain to his colleagues why it was so important to him to deny virtual education to the thousand plus students who will not be able to enroll this year as a result of the bill. Of course, all of his colleagues KNEW the reason: he is a lap dog of the OEA and they wanted the bill.

But that explanation wouldn't fly on the floor. So he went on and on about how much he cares about education that he thinks about it every waking moment, and then he gave a tearful account of his own struggles in the third grade when bad eyesight made it so he couldn't learn to read. He was all choked up as the told this story - and anyone watching was thinking: "Then why do you want to deny today's third graders from enrolling in the school they want? What does your macabre display of overwrought emotion have to do with this bill, which will only deny kids what you were able to get?

It was amazing. I lost any respect I had for that man. He was nothing more than a shill for the OEA all session long, and he cared not a whit for the very real human cost of his desire to advance his own political career.

Senator Devlin is the worst type of politician. I will call him out every chance I get.


Anonymous said...

This is the first time I have been emotionally invested in a bill, and really the first time I've paid much attention to who was involed. I'm glad to hear this whole process was an uncommonly disgusting display, because disgusting is the only word I have for it.

If they're kicked out of school, at least these students now have a better education in politics than most adults.

OregonGuy said...

It's for the kids.

Mark McConnell said...

The way this bill was produced, the mismatch of arguments for its justification and the stated goals of the legislators who voted for it, and the way that it finally passed, should make anyone cringe who loves the ideal of a democratic republic.

No one, of any party, can look at what happened without becoming tainted with cynicism, realizing what sort of powers actually run the government.

Anonymous said...

This entire affair revealed the OEA for exactly what it is - a labor union which will stop at nothing in order to advance the economic interests of the elites who run the union, even at the cost of its own members.

The behavior of Laurie Wimmer, the OEA's lead lobbyist on this bill, was disgusting. I spoke to many D legislators who told me privately that she has lost all credibility with the caucus because of her repeated lies and overtly hostile behavior.

The OEA is out of control, and I can only hope this session will illustrate the very real human cost of allowing corrupt organizations like it to call the shots in a one party state.

Mike Groves said...

Before a woman's child is born, she has the right to "play God", to determine, by her choice, whether that child lives or dies...but, if she does choose life, then the choices involved with educating that child are made by the democrats in the Oregon Legislature. Well, at least for Oregonians...

MAX Redline said...

Due for new content here, Rob. Cool that you're subbing in for Lars on local radio, but hey. It's not like there's lack of material, what with the resignation of one of the few sane Dems in the state senate.