Ah, springtime. The snow has finally melted — save perhaps in the shaded corners where municipal plows dump their loads — and after a long, hard, seemingly endless winter. the warming temps and lengthening days foreshadow life’s renewal.
Well, except in one particular location, where the springtime is a harbinger of death.
Yep, I’m talkin’ the State House. This is the one location where the dead of winter is a time of newness, creativity, and promise, while spring is The Reaper’s Time: when once-lauded legislation is quietly, ruthlessly dispatched. Usually behind closed doors or in whispered hallway conferences.
Case in point: the bill that would have placed a two-year moratorium on privatizing public schools. It passed the Senate, no problem; it also gained approval by the House Education Committee. But this week, it suddenly up and died.
The question of whether voters should be allowed to “flip” public schools into private entities has churned for months in Vermont. After lengthy debate on the House floor Wednesday, the issue has been tabled.
The bill’s mysterious demise came after Minority Leader Don Turner introduced an amendment that would have removed the moratorium but retained a study of the issue: always a popular alternative to, y’know, doing something.
Usually, Turner’s dutiful rhetorical flourishes go nowhere… but this time:
After a break and several minutes of informal huddles, a motion was made to order the bill “to lie.” It’s a rare move in the House, and most often means legislation gets put on ice and left there to freeze.
Representatives agreed overwhelmingly on a voice vote to shelve S.91.
And just like that, months of legislative debate end with instantaneous death.
VTDigger’s brief account, quoted above, offered no explanation whatsoever; nor did the Times Argus’ story (hidden, as usual, behind the Mitchell Family Paywall).
Over in the Freeploid, Terri Hallenbeck managed to get this succinct rationale from House Cryptkeeper Shap Smith:
Smith said of the bill’s future,, “It’s not a top priority of the House.”
Gee, Shap. Thanks for sharing.
To me, the bill itself isn’t that big a deal. But its quick and unexplained demise? I’d think Our Glorious Leaders would feel some responsibility to explain their actions — err, inactions — to the people they supposedly represent.