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Legislative Report: Accoutability Lashes Senate [AUDIO]

Two bills calling for more accountability in education passed the Senate today. Amy Richards has more in Wednesday’s Legislative Report.

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This Legislative Report is brought to you by Hilltop National Bank.

The day after the teacher tenure bill died, the Senate passed two education accountability bills. Senate File 70 passed the Senate 30-0. The bill would establish ways to measure student performance and progress. The bill would set up legislative and advisory committees to implement the system and impose consequences for under-performing schools.

Senate File 146 passed out of the senate on a 29-1 vote. The bill would establish annual teacher evaluations that are based in part on student performance on certain assessments. Sen. Hank Coe, chairman of the Senate Education Committee says he’s pleased these bills passed.

Sen. Hank Coe, accountability in ed:

“We’ll move forward with those tools, and we’ll move into the interim, and we’ll continue a serious discussion about accountability in education and that’s what it’s about; those are the tools that are available to us. Senate File 146 does some good things; it ties teacher performance with student achievement, which we’re all interested in for the 1.5 billion a year we spend on education.”

Coe says he is disappointed the teacher tenure bill failed because it was a part of the accountability issue.

Casper Sen. Bill Landen, a member of the Senate Education Committee says he voted against the teacher tenure bill because, he says, it “hit the wrong target.” Landen says he is interested in discussing the school recalibration bill that came out of the House. He says he has some concerns about some of the things in that bill.

Sen. Bill Landen, recalibration bill:

“We began discussions on the recalibration bill. There’s a transportation piece in that bill and a K through 3 limit on how many students in the classroom, so we’re going to continue to talk about education.”

The Senate gave initial approval to House Bill 117, which will provide a sales tax break for mega data centers that locate to Wyoming. Sen. John Schiffer says he’s got some issues with the bill.

Sen. John Schiffer, dislikes the bill:

“We’re giving a tremendous sales tax break to that company, to this foreign company. I don’t mind that in theory, but I want to know what’s the state of Wyoming getting. How many jobs are we getting? What are the jobs going to pay? How long is the company going to be here?”

Sen. Chris Rothfuss says the bill will bring in much needed jobs and tax revenue to the state.

Sen. Chris Rothfuss, for data centers:

“Let’s put together a good deal, enter a good faith negotiation, and try and draw a few-hundred-million dollars to the state of Wyoming and increase our economic diversification.”

Wyoming employers wouldn’t be able to prohibit workers from keeping guns in their vehicles at the workplace under House Bill 207 that passed out of the house today. The House voted 36-23 in favor of the bill sponsored by Cody Republican Rep. Sam Krone. Sheridan Republican Rep. Jon Botten says he has the right to ban a vehicle from his property if he finds a bumper-sticker offensive. He says he also should be able to insist that no firearms are allowed.

House Bill 251, the abortion-ultrasound information bill passed out of the House on third and final reading today by a 35 to 25 vote. Those bills now move on to the Senate.

With the Legislative Report, I’m Amy Richards for K2 Radio News.

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