Governor Taft becomes Ohio's Education Czar
with the passage of House Bill 711

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Republicans in the House Finance Committee trampled on YOUR right to choose
who serves on the Ohio State Board of Education by voting for
House Bill 711
UPDATE #3 - May 23, 2000

  UPDATE: The 1999-2000 session of the Ohio Congress has concluded. HB711 was passed by both the House and the Senate, although by very close margins. There was no public support for it that we are aware of. Governor Taft has signed it into law. 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 already signed into law.  This link was left on our web site for historical purposes only.
   
Ohio House and Senate members. Looking for a concise explanation of why the defeat of HB711 is so vital to the citizens of Ohio? Then listen to this short (10 minutes) but excellent May 18 radio interview of Melanie Elsey of the Ohio Eagle Forum. This interview was done by Chad Bresson on his FrontPage! program on the CDR Radio Network.
 
 
 
 
  Democrats opposed to Ohio HB711
  Update #2 on House Bill 711 (it's a carbon copy of HB602)
  House Bill 679 Mandates evidence "not supportive" of evolution be taught

We received the following E-mail May 24, 2000:

Subject: Update: Hearing today on HB711

To all:

First I would like to express my appreciation for the tremendous effort made at the last minute by many of you to attend the press rally and the legislative hearing on HB711!! The hearing room for the House Finance Committee overflowed its capacity and the vast majority of people attending were clearly opposed to HB711.

Some who testified did so for the very first time and were wonderful!! This process, in and of itself, is an education. :-)

In summary:

1. Chairman Corbin began the session by announcing that he planned to extend time for public testimony from 40 minutes [20 min. per side] to an hour. This was a direct result of the number of people who showed up and turned in witness forms. [Thank you!] Since only 2 people testified in favor of keeping the appointed board members, opposition testimony was given the remainder of the hour. The 2 witnesses in favor of HB711 were State Board President Martha Wise and Dr. George Tombaugh, Executive Assistant on Education to Governor Taft. NO ONE from the general public supported the bill. More than 45 citizens requested to testify in opposition to HB711. 14 opponents actually provided testimony.

2. When the committee prepared to vote on the bill, 2 amendments were offered as follows:

* Representative Ray Miller offered amendment #4780 which would provide for a completely elected 33 member State Board of Education. This amendment was tabled.

* Representative Erin Sullivan offered amendment #4814 which would provide for a completely appointed 33 member State Board of Education with the requirement that all appointees would be current members of local boards of education. This amendment was tabled.

IMPORTANT -- Representative Kevin Coughlin [Summit County] did not offer an amendment to the committee, but expressed his intention to offer an amendment on the floor [Wednesday] to COMPLETELY ELIMINATE ALL ELECTED BOARD MEMBERS AND ADD ONE APPOINTED BOARD MEMBER TO MAKE A 9-MEMBER APPOINTED STATE BOARD
OF EDUCATION. This was not exactly a polite gesture in a room full of citizens who firmly support a completely elected board. The Akron Beacon Journal needs to receive letters to the editor on Representative Coughlin's flagrant disregard for public concerns.

3. The vote was taken and HB711 passed [17-13]. Representative Amstutz was not in the room at the time of the vote. The vote count is as follows:

YEA:
Corbin
Mead
Carey
Coughlin
Damschroder
Evans
Goodman
Hoops
Kilbane
Krebs
Metzger
Mottley
O'Brien
Peterson
Stapleton
Vesper
Womer Benjamin

NAY:
Cates
Netzley
Jones
Barrett
Boyd
Metelsky
D. Miller
R. Miller
Ogg
Perry
Roberts
Sullivan
Wilson

IMMEDIATE ACTION IS NEEDED !! We need TEN Republican NO votes on the House floor tomorrow [Wednesday, 5/24]. Session is scheduled for 1:30. This is still achievable. But we need your help! ALL CALLS SHOULD BE MADE BEFORE 1 PM

1. CALL YOUR OWN State Representative. All legislators need to hear from their constituents! Ask him or her to vote NO on HB711 AND vote NO on the intended amendment from Representative Kevin Coughlin [pronounced Cog - in].

2. We KNOW that Reps. Jordan, Roman, Netzley, Cates, and Hood will vote no. If possible, please call and thank them [phone # listed below]

3. We believe that Reps. Calvert, Young, Grendell, Schuck, Williams, Jacobson, and VanVyven may/will be responsive to concerned citizens. PLEASE CALL and ask them to VOTE NO on HB711 AND vote NO on the intended amendment from Representative Kevin Coughlin.

THANK YOU for your continued assistance. Representative government is such a basic concept. I am concerned that if legislators, elected to represent the people, cannot understand this foundational principle, then we will REALLY be in trouble on more complex issues!!

PHONE LIST:
Call to encourage to vote NO:
Diane Grendell [Geauga/part of Trumbull Co.] 614-644-5088
Charles Calvert [Medina Co.] 614-466-8140
Ron Young [Lake Co.] 614-644-6074
Bill Schuck [Columbus] 614-466-9690
Jeff Jacobson [Dayton area] 614-644-8051
Dale VanVyven [Hamilton Co.] 614-466-8120
Bryan Williams [Akron] 614-644-5085
John Williamowski [Lima] 614-466-9624
Robert Schuler [Cincinnati] 614-644-6023

Call to express appreciation:
Jim Jordan 614-466-1507
Twyla Roman 614-466-1790
Bob Netzley 614-466-8114
Gary Cates 614-466-8550
Ron Hood 614-466-1464

FINALLY, PLEASE STAY TUNED TO YOUR EMAIL TOMORROW. I WILL SEND OUT AN UPDATE IN THE MORNING IF THE SESSION TIME IS REVISED. I WILL ALSO UPDATE YOU ON THE FINAL HOUSE VOTE.

Respectfully,
Melanie Elsey

"If we think they are not enlightened enough to decide for themselves, the remedy is not to take away their right to decide, but to inform their discretion." -- Thomas Jefferson

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