Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Art teachers conduct civics lesson in legislative action

Some of my colleagues in the world of arts education have jumped into the legislative battles with both feet. HB0218 is designed to revise the Hathaway Scholarhips to include arts courses. The Hathaways are awarded to high school seniors attending the state's only four-year university or one of its community colleges.

I posted about this bill on Jan. 28. Here's the latest update from wyomingarts:

We had a very exciting day at the Legislature yesterday! The House Education committee was unanimous in their acceptance of the proposal to change HB0218 to reflect Fine and Performing Arts, and unanimous in their acceptance of the bill. Four teachers presented in support of the bill: Cindy Schmid, Cheyenne; Amy Simpson, Cheyenne; Sheila McHattie, Casper; and Kelly Bembry-Hennings, Cheyenne. Many other teachers, and some administrators, also attended to show their support.

The House Education committee made a number of supportive comments about this bill, and several representatives commented that they had received a lot of email on the topic. The committee was joined by the chair of the Senate Education committee (Senator Coe), and also Senator Dockstader. Senator Dockstader, who is married to an art teacher in Star Valley, was kind enough to give the presenting teachers advice on the process, and help us all by talking to a number of legislators. Superintendent McBride was also there and provided some comments on the bill.

This bill still has a number of hurdles to overcome before it is law, but it is well on its way.

What’s next?

The bill is waiting in line on the docket to be presented to the Committee of the Whole (the House). The Majority Floor Leader sets that schedule. The House Floor Majority Leader is Edward Buchanan (Torrington). The bill must be read by the end of the day on Monday, February 9 in order to continue through the process.

If it does get read by end of day Monday, February 9, it will then be voted upon by the Committee of the Whole (House). If it passes, it goes to second reading. It must be read and voted on by the end of the day on Tuesday February 10 to continue to its third reading. It must have its third reading and voted on by the end of the day on Wednesday, February 11. If it passes, it moves on to the Senate Education Committee. If it doesn’t pass, it is dead.

All House Bills must have achieved third reading by Wednesday, February 11, or they are dead.

These are the stages that must occur between now and the time the HB0218 is presented to the Senate side. So, still a ways to go before it becomes law.

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