Ohio Governor Taft resorts to strong-arm tactics
to steal away your vote on Education matters with
the introduction of
House Bill 711

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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.

 

The author of this E-mail, Melanie Elsey, was interviewed on May 18 by Chad Bresson on his radio program FrontPage!. This was a very good interview that presented a lot of useful background information on this bill, and on problems with the State Board of Education in general. Click here to listen to her 10-minute interview. We wish to thank CDR Radio Network, and Chad Bresson in particular for giving us permission to publish this interview on our web site. During the interview, it is mentioned that no public testimony will be allowed on HB711. That was true when the interview was conducted. However, the next day, the committee leadership caved into public pressure and decided to allow public testimony after all.

 See also Lawsuit filed against Ohio Governor and Ohio Board of Education
  Urgent action required on House Bill 602 - Update #3
  Urgent action required on House Bill 602 - Update #2
  Urgent action required on House Bill 602 - Update #1
  House Bill 679 Mandates evidence "not supportive" of evolution be taught!

We received the following e-mail on May 18, 2000:

To all:

Governor Taft was not successful this week in convincing enough legislators to approve HB602 in the House Education Committee. The will of the people prevailed in convincing the majority to give us back our ELECTED State Board of Education.

Twenty people testified AGAINST HB602 when it was up for consideration in the Education Committee. Four testified for it. The four who testified for it were three State School Board members, including its president, and one person from the governor's office. Nobody from the public testified in support of HB602.

So, Governor Taft, House Speaker Jo Ann Davidson, and Representative Charles Brading started an intense game of DIRTY POLITICS !! Rep. Brading introduced HB711 -- THE EXACT SAME LANGUAGE AS HB602 -- and successfully had it assigned to the HOUSE FINANCE COMMITTEE !! This issue is NOT a fiscal issue!! It is an education issue !! But they think they have duped enough House Republicans on the Finance Committee to support keeping the Governor's appointees on the State Board of Education.

What is EVEN MORE OF AN OUTRAGE is that the House Finance Committee has no intention of taking public testimony on HB711!! They want to ROB US of our right to elect all of our board members and they don't want to hear our side of the issue??!!

WE NEED ALL CITIZENS TO MAKE CRITICAL CALLS TO THE LEGISLATORS BELOW. WE NEED TO CONVINCE FIVE REPUBLICANS ON THE FINANCE COMMITTEE TO VOTE NO ON HB 711.

EVERYONE SHOULD ALSO CALL THEIR OWN STATE REPRESENTATIVE AND STATE SENATOR. HB711 MAY GET TO THE FULL MEMBERSHIP FOR A VOTE NEXT WEEK.

WE NEED THE PHONES OF ALL MAJOR NEWSPAPERS AND TALK RADIO SHOWS TO RING OFF THE HOOK !! THIS IS AN ELECTION YEAR AND GOVERNOR TAFT AND KEY LEGISLATORS HAVE DECLARED WAR ON OUR RIGHT TO HAVE TRUE REPRESENTATION ON OUR STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION !!

PLEASE -- PLEASE ACTIVATE PHONE CHAINS AND EMAIL LISTS! PLEASE CONSIDER THIS AN EMERGENCY !!!!!!!

THIS LEGISLATION WILL IMPACT ALL CHILDREN !! THERE ARE MANY POLICIES IN THE DEVELOPMENTAL STAGE OF THE STATE BOARD THAT WILL NEGATIVELY IMPACT ALL STUDENTS, REGARDLESS OF WHERE THEY ARE EDUCATED!!

The schedule for the House Finance Committee:
Monday, May 22, 7:30pm, Room 313 of the Statehouse
HB711 will have sponsor testimony
Tuesday, May 23, 9:30am; 1:30pm; 7pm
HB711 will be voted upon by committee members
[My guess is the vote will take place at the 9:30 session so they can get it to the full membership at the 11:00 general session.]

Below are phone numbers followed by suggested talking points.

There are 31 members of the House Finance Committee. There is no need to call the 11 Democrats. Republican members' numbers are listed below. Key legislators are marked. ALL area codes are 614.

We need FIVE NO votes.

Chairman, Representative Robert Corbin - 466-6504 [Don't bother.]
Vice-Chair, Representative Priscilla Mead - 644-6005 [Don't bother.]

Rep. Ron Amstutz [Wooster] 466-1474 [KEY}
Rep. Robert Netzley [Laura, Dayton area] 466-8114 [KEY]
Rep. Kerry Metzger [New Philadelphia] 466-1695 [KEY]
Rep. Jim Hoops [Napoleon, Toledo area] 466-3760 [KEY]
Rep. Gary Cates [West Chester, Cincinnati area] 466-8550 [KEY]
Rep. John Carey [Wellstone, southern tip of Ohio] 466-1366 [KEY]
Rep. Rex Damschroder [Fremont] 466-1374 [MAYBE]
Rep. David Evans [Newark] 466-1482 [MAYBE]
Rep. Sally Conway Kilbane [Cleveland area] 466-0961 [MAYBE]
Rep. Kevin Coughlin [Akron area] 466-1177
Rep. David Goodman [Columbus] 644-6002
Rep. Gene Krebs [Camden, area north of Cinci on Indiana border] 644-5094
Rep. Donald Mottley [West Carrollton, Dayton area] 644-6008
Rep. Jacquelyn O'Brien [Cincinnati] 644-6886
Rep. Jon Peterson [Delaware] 644-6711
Rep. Dennis Stapleton [Washington CH, southern Ohio] 466-3506
Rep. Rose Vesper [New Richmond, east of Cinci] 644-6034
Rep. Ann Womer Benjamin [Aurora, northeast of Akron] 466-2004

Democrat members of the Finance Committee are: Peter Jones, Catherine Barrett, Barbara Boyd, Daniel Metelsky, Dale Miller, Ray Miller, William Ogg, Jeanine Perry, Thomas Roberts, Erin Sullivan, and Charles Wilson. These are all expected to vote NO.

SUGGESTED TALKING POINTS:
1. If they say, "Most people don't know who their State Board person is,therefore it isn't necessary to keep the board all elected."

Most people also don't know who their state legislators are but this does NOT mean that the Governor should appoint the General Assembly. The more important point to be made is that those who WANT to know and be informed as to who they vote for have the opportunity to do so. That is the ESSENCE of representative government. And, today there are more and more ways to get the information easily [i.e. voter's guides on the internet]

2. If they say, "Those elected are from special interest groups that can afford to "advertise/publicize" their candidate. e.g. Elected board members are in the OEA pocket."

This is NO DIFFERENT from the General Assembly, yet we don't want to throw out our representation there. Special interest groups have influence over legislators but NOT control.The State Board established "rules" which are a part of the Ohio Administrative Code and are just as mandatory as state statute. They serve a "legislative function" and should be completely under the legislative branch of government, not the executive branch.


3. If they say, "The Governor can breakup a monopoly. Hopefully the Governor elected by the people; whose views are better known than a state board member will be elected."

This is the worst line of reasoning...
**The Governor through his 8 appointees IS THE MONOPOLY !! He absolutely controls the marketplace of ideas by stripping out representative votes on REALLY CRITICAL ISSUES. [i.e. state health curriculum, re-designed assessment system that is WORSE than the one we have] **Yes, the Governor is elected. But his election is on a MUCH BROADER PLATFORM than just education. His campaign is also driven by welfare reform issues, tax issues, education, pro-life vs. pro-choice issues, prison/criminal code issues. It is ludicrous to say that education is the only issue that determines who our Governor will be.**In addition, if someone has a specific problem with State Board policy it is VERY EASY to pick up the phone and call their board member at home. We DO NOT HAVE DIRECT ACCESS TO THE GOVERNOR.

4. If they say, "Community schools will be ruined because the elected members don't support community schools."

This is NOT TRUE. As of 1997 we have state law that REQUIRES the State Board to sponsor community schools. This is a WEAK assumption. A majority of the current elected members have voted to support community schools. NOTHING WILL BE LOST !!!!!

Please, please don't be deceived. This is a power play and nothing more. Citizens have been robbed of meaningful input on board policy. Defeating HB602 and now HB711 is the BEST WAY to RESTORE accountability of the State Board to the citizens. A VOTE IN FAVOR OF HB711 IN THIS ELECTION YEAR IS A VOTE AGAINST THE CITIZENS SERVED BY THE LEGISLATURE !!!!

Respectfully,
Melanie Elsey


I also received this e-mail message from a person who is very well-informed on this issue:

Gary,

I just wanted you to know: Speaker Davidson and Gov. Taft have bypassed the education committee in regards to H.B. 602. They have reintroduced the identical language with H.B. 711 and have put it into the Finance Committee.

We do not have the votes to stop it there, since the liberals are stacked in that committee. Have your people start making calls to the entire legislature regarding H.B. 711 since we believe it will probably be on the house floor this coming Tuesday! Right now it doesn't appear that we have the votes to stop it, so we need lots of calls!

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