Good & bad legislation…

I would love to sit down with the legislative leadership and have them explain the reasoning behind some of the actions they are taking. Last week a bill was introduced to take power away from the State and ultimately the local Boards of Education. I have fought, for the nearly 50 years I have been behind this desk, to keep politics out of the educational system. Despite its flaw… the situation is much improved today compared to when I first picked up a pen.

Obviously, I don’t think the legislature should be signing off on the actions of the State School Board. I certainly don’t think they need veto power to circumvent rules they don’t find popular. If this law passes it will make every decision dependent on how it floats in the political arena of which ever party is in power. It’s simply a bad idea. There is not enough lipstick in the world make this pig look good.

I also view the bill that will put political party affiliations back into the Board of Education an equally bad idea. Past legislative leaders have taken political affiliation out of races for various judge positions as well as the Board of Education. I can’t for the life of me figure out the reasoning behind such a blatantly stupid move. It ain’t broke folks, so it really doesn’t need fixing!

There was at least one good intended bill that I saw last week. It was SB 513 which, if passed, would allow volunteer and part-volunteer fire departments to use state grants to enhance their recruiting efforts. When I joined, it was a privilege to belong to the fire department and help our neighbors in their time of need. Unfortunately, we have now come to a time when volunteering is not very popular. In fact, most everyone is “just too busy.” Wait till you’re laying in a ditch, injured from an accident, and no one is there to help you. I have been on both sides of that fence and believe me you will be very happy to hear that siren and see those trucks roll up. But every department in the State is suffering from manpower shortages. In our county we are having to rely on multiple departments to muster enough manpower to get the job done during most daylight hours.

The fire service has tried for years to get the legislature to recognize the devotion of volunteer fire companies. Little things, like free license plates for their vehicles. We have been told that would be too costly. There have been a number of measurers presented over the years. Most were more token recognition opposed to monetary gain. Yet, the elected official always had some excuse for not honoring the request. I have no idea if this year will be any different. History certainly indicates that elected officials as a whole, take us for granted. But, regardless, something is going to have to be done to attract interest to the fire service… else we are all in a very bad place!