State senators will be under deadline pressure to decide what they want to do about Common Core when they reconvene this week.
The Legislature’s May 1 “crossover” deadline requires bills to move across the State House lobby – from one legislative body to the other; in this case, from the Senate to the S.C. House – to have a realistic chance of passage this session, which ends June 5. After the crossover deadline, it is much more difficult for a Senate bill, for example, to be considered by the House – requiring a two-thirds vote even to be considered.
Senators will consider a bill proposed in reaction to the controversial Common Core education standards.
S.C. schools have spent almost $100 million to launch the K-12 education standards, designed to set what students should know at each grade level so they are ready to go to college or enter the workplace. However, the standards, developed by the states and business groups, are opposed bitterly by some who say the federal government has coerced states into adopting Common Core.
“(The debate) is a huge policy issue that’s going to take some substantial time for people to make a decision on because there’s no easy answer,” said state Sen. Brad Hutto, D-Orangeburg.
The Senate must decide whether to hurry its debate on a Senate Common Core bill or try to get around the May 1 crossover deadline – buying more time – by working off a similar bill that already has passed the House and is in the Senate.
Passing its own Common Core proposal would give the Senate more time on an even more pressing deadline that looms – passing a state budget to take effect July 1. If senators decide to work on the House bill, they would have to break their debate of that bill as soon as the budget hits the Senate floor for what could be a lengthy debate.
The Senate version of the Common Core bill up for discussion this week would:
In addition, the Senate proposal would require the General Assembly to approve any future education standards, like Common Core, for S.C. schools that are not developed by the state Department of Education, said state Sen. Larry Grooms, R-Berkeley, one of the bill’s sponsors.
“It starts a transition to take back over the standards at the state level,” said state Sen. Wes Hayes, R-York, the bill’s main sponsor.
Across the lobby, a House priority in the race against the crossover deadline will be the Electronic Data Privacy Protection Act.
State Rep. Garry Smith, R-Greenville, the bill’s sponsor, said his proposal extends the U.S. Constitution’s 4th Amendment protection against unreasonable search and seizures to data stored on mobile electronic devices.
“Now, instead of it (information) being in your filing cabinet in your home, it’s in your pocket in your cellphone,” Smith said. “It’s designed to protect that information from inappropriate and overaggressive governmental intrusion.”
Bills on the edge
The pressure is on to get legislative proposals across the State House lobby –- between the S.C. House and state Senate –- by Thursday. After the May 1 “crossover deadline” it becomes much more difficult for bills to be passed during this legislative session, and proposals that do not pass this year –- the second in a two-year session –- die. Some of the proposals in peril:
Bills that already have crossed over
Among the proposals that already have made the crossover deadline are:
The Associated Press and Anderson Independent Mail contributed
Reach Cope at (803) 771-8657.