Urgent action required on House Bill 602 - Update #2

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UPDATE: The 1999- 2000 session of the Ohio Congress has concluded. HB602 is obsolete.  The information below is presented as background/historical information concerning this bill.  Please do not contact your Ohio congress members about this bill because it is obsolete.  This link was left on our web site for historical purposes only.
See also: Lawsuit filed against Ohio Governor and Ohio Board of Education
  Urgent action required on House Bill 602 - Update #1

We received the following e-mail on May 10, 2000:

UPDATE ON HB602
PHONE CALLS ARE STILL NEEDED.

To all:

The Ohio House Education Committee met last night [May 9th]. HB602 was on the agenda for a vote. All opportunities for public testimony are over. At the beginning of the meeting, Committee Chair Charles Brading announced that he had decided to remove HB602 from the agenda.

What does this mean?

1. There are 21 total members on the committee: 13 Republicans and 8 Democrats. At least 11 votes are needed for a majority vote. All eight Democratic members have determined to vote "no" on the bill. Three Republican votes are needed to defeat the bill. Republican members Roman and
Jordan have determined to vote "no" -- against considerable pressure from the Governor. Therefore, only one more Republican vote is needed to defeat HB602.

2. Chairman Brading has determined that he didn't have the 11th "yes" vote needed to approve the bill, so he pulled it from the agenda.

3. Does this mean we win in the effort to restore our elected State Board of Education? Yes and no. If the bill never receives a vote, we win for now. There are two more weeks of legislative sessions scheduled this month. After that the General Assembly is in recess until September. At this time two weeks of session are scheduled for September and two weeks for November.

Furthermore, a judicial decision is expected to be rendered in July on the lawsuit that was filed last year challenging the structure of the State Board. This is expected to be a "slam dunk" decision in favor of restoring the elected board

4. There will be two more meetings of the House Education Committee: May 16 and May 23. At either of these meetings HB602 could be placed on the agenda for a vote.

ALSO there will be two more weeks of political "arm twisting" on the Republican members who have not committed to giving the Governor his/her support for the bill.Remember, a YES vote is a vote in favor of the GOVERNOR'S CONTINUED CONTROL of the State Board of Education.
A NO vote is a vote in favor of RETURNING CONTROL OF EDUCATION POLICY TO A BOARD ACCOUNTABLE TO THE CITIZENS.

It is very likely that the Governor will use this time to continue to pressure the Republicans who are on the fence. This can't be emphasized enough. These Republicans are being put in a position of choosing between a wise decision and a political "you'd better support the Governor's power grab" decision.

It also can't be stressed enough that restoring the board to an elected board is CRITICAL to all families: HOME EDUCATED students, PRIVATELY EDUCATED students, and PUBLICLY EDUCATED students. Everyone who understands the impact that the State Board of Education has on all children pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade and on the post-secondary education system, knows the CRITICAL IMPORTANCE of RESTORING the State Board of Education to a completely elected board -- accountable to the people they represent.


ACTION:
Please consider making additional phone calls to the Republican committee members only. Please review the list below and ask them to VOTE NO.

Phone numbers and e-mail addresses of all Ohio House Education Committee Members

Ohio House Education Republican Committee members [all numbers have an area code of 614].

Chairman, Charles Brading [R-Wapakoneta]: 466-3819 [sponsor of HB602]
*It is not likely that Chairman Brading will vote against his own bill.

Vice-Chairman, Bill Harris [R-Ashland]: 466-1431
*It is likely that Rep. Harris will side with the Governor.

Jamie Callender [R-Willowick]: 466-7251
*Rep. Callender has committed to support the Governor.

Chuck Calvert [R-Medina] 466-8140
*Rep. Calvert seems to be responsive to the voice of the people. More calls are needed, especially from his Medina area district. Rep. Calvert is a very important swing vote.

Randy Gardner [R-Bowling Green]: 466-8104
*It is likely that Rep. Gardner will side with the Governor.

Jim Hoops [R-Napoleon]: 466-3760
*Rep. Hoops may be responsive to the voice of the people. More calls are needed, especially from his NW Ohio district. Rep. Hoops is a very important swing vote.

Jim Jordan [R-Urbana]: 466-1507
*Rep. Jordan is very responsive to public concerns on this issue and will vote NO. Please call or write his office to express your appreciation.

Jon Peterson [R-Delaware] 644-6711
* I am not 100% sure about Rep. Peterson. Please continue to call his office.

Twyla Roman [R-Akron] 466-1790
*Rep. Roman is very responsive to public concerns on this issue and will vote NO. Please call or write her office to express your appreciation.

Dennis Stapleton [R-Washington CH] 466-3506
* I am not 100% sure about Rep. Stapleton. Please continue to call his office.

Chris Widener [R-Xenia area] NEW 466-2038
* I am not 100% sure about Rep. Widener. Please continue to call his office.

Cherly Winkler [R-Cincinnati] 466-8258
*Rep. Winkler may be responsive to the voice of the people. More calls are needed, especially from her Cincinnati-area district. Rep. Winkler is a very important swing vote.

Ann Womer Benjamin [R-Aurora] 466-2004
It is likely that Representative Benjamin will side with the Governor.

Please be respectful, but firm, in making your calls. If your representative is a Democrat on the committee, please call and express appreciation for their willingness to vote no on this bill.
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Suggested points to make with legislators:

1. Keeping the Governor in control of the State Board of Education completely ERODES the "separation of powers" between the executive branch and legislative branch of state government.

2. There are other ways the Governor can INFLUENCE education policies without controlling the State Board of Education. (A) He appoints most of the members of the Joint Council between the State Board of Education and the Ohio Board of Regents. (B) He appoints all of the members of his own Governor's Commission on Student Success.(C) He has considerable influence over the legislature which is controlled by his own Republican Party.

3. Additional control over the State Board of Education gives the Governor a MONOPOLY over education policy. NO ONE PERSON should have that much control over education policies.

4. NOBODY from the general public or professional organizations testified in favor of this bill. Only 4 people testified to support HB602 [three weeks ago]. Three were members of the State Board of Education. One was a representative of the Governor. A VOTE TO SUPPORT THIS BILL IS A VOTE AGAINST THE PEOPLE.

5. The Governor's staff has stated that if we don't like who the Governor appoints we can elect a new Governor. This is a poor response. There are many issues that contribute to the election of a Governor, not just education. It is also more likely that voters can call and actually speak to an elected State Board of Education member if they have a concern. It is NEVER possible to speak with the Governor directly if his appointees are making poor decisions.

6. Please ask legislators to make a WISE DECISION NOT A POLITICALLY CONVENIENT DECISION.

7. The pressure Gov. Taft is placing on Republican legislators is a CLEAR DEMONSTRATION of the pressure he places on his State Board appointees if the issue on the table is important to him and exemplifies why HB602 needs to be turned down.


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Thank you very much for your help on this issue. Please continue to be in
prayer for our legislators. Their decisions have tremendous impact on our
families.

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