Debate Transcripts

LB 1229 (1998)

Select File

March 24, 1998


PRESIDENT ROBAK:  Good afternoon and welcome to the George W. Norris Legislative Chamber.  I now call the afternoon session to order.  Will senators please record your presence.


CLERK:  I have a quorum present, Madam President.


PRESIDENT ROBAK:  Thank you, Mr. Clerk.  We are on LB 1229, starting with Select File, senator priority bills.  Mr. Clerk, the first amendment.


CLERK:  Madam President, just, if I may, one item for the record.  New study resolution, (LR) 356, by Senator Wehrbein.  (See pages 1301-02 of the Legislative Journal.)


(LB) 1229, the Legislature adjourned yesterday, Senator Bohlke had pending FA630.  (See FA630 on page 1266 of the Legislative Journal.)


PRESIDENT ROBAK:  Senator Bohlke, do you wish to-do you wish to ...  to....  I know you've opened on the amendment.  Is there anything you'd like to say on the amendment?


SENATOR BOHLKE:  Madam President, members, just to review it for people.  This is simply a date change, from September 1 to October 15, that would give the department and the council time to gather the information before they would send the money to schools.


PRESIDENT ROBAK:  Thank you, Senator.  Is there any discussion on the adoption of the Bohlke amendment to LB 1229?  Seeing




none, Senator Bohlke, do you wish to close?  Closing is waived.  The question before you is the adoption of the Bohlke amendment to LB 1229.  All those in favor vote aye; all those opposed vote nay.  Have you all voted?  Please record.


CLERK:  26 ayes, 0 nays on adoption of Senator Bohlke's amendment.


PRESIDENT ROBAK:  The Bohlke amendment is adopted.


CLERK:  I have nothing further on the bill, Madam President.


PRESIDENT ROBAK:  Senator Bruning.


SENATOR BRUNING:  Madam President, I move LB 1229 to E & R for engrossing.


PRESIDENT ROBAK:  Senator Chambers, your light is first.


SENATOR CHAMBERS:  Thank you, Madam President.  I'd like to ask Senator Bohlke a question.


PRESIDENT ROBAK:  Senator Bohlke, will you yield?




SENATOR CHAMBERS:  Senator Bohlke, once a school district has determined that it's going to have a program such as this, there is some mandatory language relative to the type of coursework or whatever that would have to be implemented to meet the standard that's required by the law.  Is that correct?


SENATOR BOHLKE:  That's correct.


SENATOR CHAMBERS:  Would you be opposed to my changing that "shall" to "may"?


SENATOR BOHLKE:  That they "may" have that type of program?


SENATOR CHAMBERS:  Yea, they'd have some program, but we don't want to push down their throats the kind it is.




SENATOR BOHLKE:  I think I know where we're going, so I'm going to say, yes, I would oppose, but I know what you're going to bay next.  So, let's get it over with.


SENATOR CHAMBERS:  No, that's all I wanted to ask you.  Is Senator Don Pederson here?


PRESIDENT ROBAK:  Senator, Senator Don Pederson?


SENATOR CHAMBERS:  I don't see him.  I'll go on and make my comment.  Members of the Legislature, I think I made it clear yesterday how I feel about this bill.  Unfortunately, I had stated that I would not do all that I can under the rules to try to stop it.  As a matter of fact, if I were to add...  offer an amendment, it would only be one, and it would be to change that crucial "shall" to "may", because these schools don't like unfunded mandates.  And even with the match formula, the district is going to have to put up one dollar to get two, so it is not completely funded.  And we don't know if the three dollars will be enough to pay for all of this program that needs to be paid for.  So, even though the state will give a two-to-one match, the district could run up a sizable expense, depending on how many one dollars they have to put in to fund the program when they add to that the two for each one of theirs that the state will give.  So, I'm wondering why, if we trust -these school districts to put a program in place at all, why we cannot trust them to put the proper kind of program in place.  Now I'd like to ask Senator Bohlke a question.


PRESIDENT ROBAK:  Senator Bohlke.


SENATOR CHAMBERS:  Senator Bohlke, are you telling me that you, think that, if we give the school districts a chance, they will see the wisdom of what this bill suggests, and will, on a voluntary basis, implement a program of the kind envisioned in LB 1229?


SENATOR BOHLKE:  Senator Chambers, I believe we will see a large majority of schools participate.  And I've told you that we could watch that closely, and I know that you will.  But, yes, I anticipate a significant number of school districts participating.




SENATOR CHAMBERS:  Now, if we're going to have confidence that the school districts will do the right thing because the program has such value and the children are entitled to it, do you not have as much confidence that they, on their own, will implement the right kind of or quality of program?  You don't have confidence that they'll do that without being mandated?


SENATOR BOHLKE:  Senator Chambers, there's been a history of the types of programs that are now recognized as not being the best in this particular area.  And so this is not meant to go for extracurricular activities.  This is to go for curriculum.


SENATOR CHAMBERS:  But, isn't there language that describes the quality of program that would have to be presented?  There are standards, in other words, that will have to be met in order for a program to be acceptable enough to qualify the district for this matching money, is that true?


SENATOR BOHLKE:  There will be standards, yes.




SENATOR CHAMBERS:  Why do we impose standards and not just trust these school district people who are so honorable and interested in the welfare of the children?  Is it that we'll trust them with a match and we'll trust them with gasoline, but we won't trust them with a match and gasoline together?


SENATOR BOHLKE:  Senator Chambers, we've been long about setting standards at the state level for all programs, and certainly with those that are currently offered in the classroom, so this is not departing from what we already do.


SENATOR CHAMBERS:  Don't we set those standards because we don't trust the local districts to do what they need to do as far as quality?


SENATOR BOHLKE:  They're set as a goal, Senator Chambers,






SENATOR BOHLKE:  ...and as guidelines.


SENATOR CHAMBERS:  But isn't it because we don't trust them to do it on their own?


SENATOR BOHLKE:  I think that the schools see it as the state Department of Education and policy to look, to give them those guidelines.


SENATOR CHAMBERS:  Wasn't Ginger Rogers, Fred Astaire's tap-dancing partner, ginger?  (Laugh) Thank you.


PRESIDENT ROBAK:  Thank you, Senator Chambers.  You may continue.


SENATOR CHAMBERS:  I just have one other comment.  When sis ...  Senator...  I started to say "Sister" Chris Peterson, but since she moved out of the culture corner, I have to be more formal.  Since the Honorable Senator Chris Peterson, from Grand Island, moved out of the culture corner things have really changed, but not really.  When she used to sit where Senator Thompson is sitting, and I would really be caught up in what I was saying, she'd put these eye glasses on, these dark glasses, and around the -rim were these little lights that would all flicker and run around the rim of the light ...  the glass, and it would make me lose my thought, momentarily.  She doesn't do that anymore.  Now she has got wise.  She has got a piece of ice on her hand that would sink the Titanic, and she makes it catch the light just right, and it flickers and shines more than those glasses.  So I want to tell, Senator Peterson, when I'm talking, cover that ice up.  Thank you very much.  (Laughter)


PRESIDENT ROBAK:  Thank you, Senator Chambers.  Is there any further discussion on the advancement of LB 1229?  Seeing none, the question before you is the advancement of LB 1229.  All those in favor say aye.  All those opposed nay.  LB 1229 advances.  LB 1229A.