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Dems blast bullying bill’s demise; Nonini defends chairman’s prerogative…

House Democratic leaders have issued a press release blasting the decision to let the Senate-passed anti-bullying bill, SB 1358, die without a hearing in the House Education Committee. “I am dismayed that my Republican colleagues refuse to even let the bill be heard and debated,” Rep. Brian Cronin, D-Boise, said in the statement, which adds, “Refusal to debate important issues is becoming the standard for a majority that has slashed education budgets and championed plans to replace teachers with laptops and online courses.” Click below for the leadership's full statement; eight Republicans backed House Democrats' move today to pull the bill from committee, but it fell short.

House Education Chairman Bob Nonini, R-Coeur d'Alene, defended his decision not to hear the bill. “We had a hearing on that last year, and it was somewhat of a contentious hearing,” he said. “I talked to  (Senate Education) Chairman (John) Goedde early in the session and said I wasn't interested in seeing a bullying bill over here.” The bill came through the Senate Judiciary Committee this year. Nonini said, “I'm not hearing that it's a big problem - I'm sure there's isolated instances, for sure, but I think the districts have policies to deal with those.” He added, “Some of my committee members asked if we could just get by another year without hearing another bullying bill.”

He also defended the prerogative of a legislative committee chairman to kill a bill by leaving it in his desk drawer, rather than granting it a hearing. “I also think there's a whole … lot of people happy right now that Chairman Loertscher's not giving that (ultrasound) bill a hearing,” he said. “A chairman is responsible for protecting his committee.”


Idaho House of Representatives

Democratic Leadership

 

 

                                      Press Release

                                      For immediate release - Tuesday, March 27,2012

House Republicans Refuse to Consider Measures to Curb School Bullying

Boise -House Republicans have proven, once again, that when it comes to Idaho’s students, they simply do not get it. Today, they refused to consider an anti-bullying bill that has been held hostage in the Education Committee, denying House members the opportunity to debate and vote on the bill. 

“I am deeply concerned about the young people throughout this state who dread going to school and who live in constant fear,” said Rep. Brian Cronin of Boise, a co-sponsor of the bill, who used a parliamentary procedure to attempt to pull the bill out of committee for consideration by the full House. “I am dismayed that my Republican colleagues refuse to even let the bill be heard and debated. Today’s action sends the unfortunate message to victims of bullies that they are on their own.”

Refusal to debate important issues is becoming the standard for a majority that has slashed education budgets and championed plans to replace teachers with laptops and online courses.

The handling of the anti-bullying bill once again symbolizes the culture prevalent in the House. Powerful leaders and chairmen stifle open discussion of important issues concerning the general welfare of Idahoans.

The anti-bullying bill, which passed the Senate 25 to 8, would direct Idaho’s 115 school districts to develop clear anti-bullying policies and procedures. Teachers would be required to receive training to help them combat bullying. The bill was supported by students, parents and teachers throughout Idaho.

 
   


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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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