So the Lege wants schools to teach civics – hahahaha! Skip to content

So the Lege wants schools to teach civics – hahahaha!

Over 125 bills being rammed through by breaking the rules – and THIS Repub legislature wants to talk about CIVICS?!?

Photo by Markus Winkler / Unsplash

If you haven’t been following the 24GA session, you have missed a true lesson in civics gone wrong.

Nevertheless, in its infinite wisdom, the Republican SuperBadMajority© is about to pass a mandatory course on civics for high school students to take before they can graduate. HB 535 has passed the House and is awaiting a committee hearing in the Senate Education Committee. Oh wait – that really doesn’t need to happen before it can get one or two readings on the Senate floor. 

In past legislative sessions, it’s been necessary to swerve from the normal bill passing steps on occasion. Sometimes the LRC staff can’t get the gazillion bills drafted before the filing deadlines for both chambers. Sometimes there is an urgent reason a bill might need to get some “readings” on the floor before it is heard in committee. A good example was HB 161 this year in January, since it dealt with the filing deadline.

This year the “occasional exception” process appears to be on steroids. There are over 125 bills that are not following the regular bill-passing steps.

  • Empty mule bills (shell bills) are scheduled for a committee hearing and appear on the committee calendar agenda when they are still in their “empty” state.
  • A committee sub gets emailed to committee members either the night before, the morning of or sometimes an hour before the meeting starts. Since these bills have (maybe) received 2 floor readings already, once they are out of committee they can go straight to the floor for a vote on that same day.
  • Many “called” committee meetings are happening before or after a session so regular citizens can’t get there (and sometimes legislators can’t either).

And guess who doesn’t really get an opportunity to participate in our legislative process? You, me and the rest of Kentucky’s citizens can’t see what’s in the committee sub, so we can’t review it or make any attempt to communicate with our legislators.

So, I want to know this: Is the SuperBadMajority going to require that this new version of their legislative process be taught to our high school youths?

  • Are we going to teach them that it is OK to create work-arounds to what is supposed to be a transparent, thoughtful, collaborative legislative process?
  • Are we going to teach them that it is OK to draft bills in secrecy and not let the minority caucuses have any clue about what it is they are about to discuss in committee or on the floor?
  • Will our youth learn those important lesson about values, integrity and honoring their oath of office by watching the example of a SuperBadMajority going rogue?
  • Will our youth learn that it is OK to not really follow the rules, because once you are drunk on power you can stick it to the minority caucuses just for the fun and power of it?
  • And finally – The SuperBadMajority can pass almost any bill they really want to pass because they have the numbers … so why do they bastardize the process?

It will be interesting to see if the civics bill passes the Senate in the next few days – and what processes it will ignore on its way to passage.

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Joanie Prentice

Joanie Prentice is a Mom, Grandma, RN and a self-anointed “Legislative Nerd.” She is an activist who is passionate about educating voters. (Read the rest on the Contributors page.)

Louisville, KY

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