Those who think that things are done in the open here in Concord need only look at progress of the education funding amendment. The committee of conference formed to hammer out differences between House and Senate versions hasn’t even met yet, but Republicans were informed by House Majority Leader D. J. Bettencourt last Friday that an agreement has already been reached.
So much for (to paraphrase Woodrow Wilson from his much-ignored Fourteen Points) “open covenants, openly arrived at”.
So much for letting the Democrats in on discussions in hopes of getting their support, also. I asked around Friday, and Democrats were unaware of any language being agreed upon. Bettencourt didn’t even have the simple courtesy of sending them a copy of the “agreed upon” language.
No, you just can’t make this stuff up.
Apparently the media got a copy of the language (I wonder who would have sent such a thing to the Fourth Estate, certainly not Deej!) since I see it’s noted in the Sunday Union Leader.
Expect Republican leaders to fall all over themselves in saying good things about this bad amendment. David Hess, R-Hooksett, is already quoted in the paper as joining the love fest…”he believes the new language meets the responsibility test without acquiescing to the Claremont decision.”
Blah, blah, blah.
As with redistricting, the litmus test here will be the Mirski test. Long opposed to the Claremont decision or any language which would acknowledge the Court’s right to interfere in funding, Mirski hated the Senate language, but I suspect he’ll sell out to leadership just as he did in supporting a redistricting plan the old honest Mirski would have gone to the wall to oppose.
As for me, I’m inclined to oppose this amendment, if for no other reason that the strange use of the word “wholesome”.
Remember how the court hung its Claremont decision on the word “cherish”. "How can they possibly define cherish as fund?" Republicans wondered, and rightly so.
It seems to me “wholesome” will be the new “cherish” if we pass this amendment.
Note that I’ve bolded wholesome in the text below.
Wholesome might be a good word in making bread or in following Biblical admonitions, but it hardly seems appropriate when it comes to education funding.
It’s almost as if Dave Bates and the anti-gay folks came up with the word with the reasoning, “Hey if we can’t make marriage wholesome, at least let’s make education funding wholesome.”
Have I said lately, “You just can’t make this stuff up?”
My Merriam Webster Dictionary is at home, so the definition of “wholesome” I provide here is one I had to google. No matter how you define it, “wholesome” seems totally out of place in the context of education funding.
The dictionary notes the word derives from the German “heilsam” or healing.
“Wholesome—1) Conducive to sound health or well being (especially in appearance). Salutary. 2) Promoting mental, moral, or social healthy. 3) Sound, healthy.”
Used in a sentence—“Exercise develops wholesome appetites”.
Examples include “wholesome attitude, wholesome appearance, wholesome food”.
Nowhere do I find “wholesome” education standards.
I’ll see if Merriam agrees when I get home. Meanwhile, let’s strike that word before another day passes.
[Art.] 5-c [Public Education.] In fulfillment of the provisions with respect to education set forth in Part II, Article 83, the Legislature shall have the responsibility to maintain a system of public elementary and secondary education and to mitigate local disparities in educational opportunity and fiscal capacity. In the furtherance thereof, the Legislature shall have the full power and authority to make wholesome and reasonable standards for elementary and secondary public education and standards of accountability as it may judge for the benefit and welfare of this state; and the full power and authority to make determinations as to the amount of, and the methods of raising and distributing, state funding for public education as it may judge for the benefit and welfare of this state.