Legislature usurping local control and lacking transparency

“Rep. Melissa Rooker, a Fairway Republican, said she was disappointed that earlier work in committee on the policy, which would have required parents to opt-out of sex education, was ignored. She said the committee acted quickly to push the changes out with little discussion and votes lined up.
‘It was very well-orchestrated,’
‘Rooker said. ‘It was well-planned in advance.’”

While sex ed is not one of our issues, we are troubled by what this says about how things are to be handled in the House Education Committee and the lack of transparency. Earlier in the session, there was a hearing on the sex ed bill. The Committee amended the bill to make it opt-out instead of opt-in. Yesterday, with no notice and no further discussion, the Committee did a procedure called “gut and go” where Chair Kasha Kelley took a cheerleading bill from 2013, gutted its contents and substituted the sex ed bill, undid the opt-out amendment and passed it. The vote was 10-8, though the Committee has 19 members and all were present, and the vote was by show of hands and not recorded. This is another example of a lack of transparency (we have submitted testimony in favor of the House and Senate bills to live stream some committee hearings) and the state legislature usurping the role of local school boards (which until now have had the ability to determine how to handle their own sex ed programs).

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