Monday, January 27, 2014

Pushing back with a bill . . .

I still haven't been able to find out who the legislators are that wrote to the Supreme Court Justices about the crisis they are creating with their position on the McCleary decision and fully funding basic education that I blogged about yesterday.  I did learn today, however, in this Education Week article that there are those who believe that the Court's position is not appropriate.

"They are way out of their lane," said Republican Sen. Michael Baumgartner.

His response included more than words as he has proposed a bill this session to reduce the number of judges on the state's highest court.

Baumgartner has proposed a bill that would shrink the court from nine justices to five, acknowledging that it was partially an attempt to push back against the decision. But he also said it the change would provide significant budget savings — money that could be redirected to education.

In the article, his position is supported by Democratic Senator Hargrove, by Phil Talmadge a former legislator who also sat on the court, and by Justice James Johnson the lone dissenting voice in the January ruling.  This is looking more and more like drawing battle lines that may take on even greater significance tomorrow if the Governor proposes funding for I-732 the cost of living adjustment.

It is interesting and will probably become entertaining as we observe how this battle takes shape and will play out during and after the session.  All of this because of some well placed words in our state constitution and how the court is clarifying the meaning of those words.  Oh, I guess I should add lack of commitment over time by legislators to fund what they have defined as basic education.

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