Kim Burningham: Be cautious about current talk of a special session

Capitol at night

Rumors are swirling.  Some sources are reporting a special session of the Legislature will be held next week.  Currently, the Governor has not called such a session.  I write in opposition to calling a special session and urge the Governor to refrain.

Ken Burningham: Be cautious about current talk of a special session
by Kim Burningham

At one point, the rumor mill suggested that a special session would be called to deal with SB 54, the compromise allowing political candidates to use an alternative system for getting on the ballot.  The current talk focuses on a different issue, the process for selecting State School Board candidates.  As I understand the proposed solutions in either case, I think we are better to stay where we are.

Apparently, the State School Board proposal would provide a “temporary fix” to the nominating process.  That fix, I am informed, would continue the same dysfunctional and unconstitutional process (where a committee winnows the filed candidates down to three) with only some tweaking of the language.   “Tweaking” is not enough; we need a more direct and democratic process.

The actual details of the change that might be proposed are not yet public, and that is one of my concerns.  Any change needs more than back room chat.  It needs public examination and debate.  A change in thelanguage might be less objectionable than the language currently in code, but I understand the public’s right to make the decision would still be filtered by a committee.

The courts have ruled the current system to be unconstitutional.  Tinkering with the system is not the answer.  We need to let the people decide who is on the State School Board.  That decision needs to be decided with sufficient time and in vigorous debate, not in some fast-paced maneuver in a special session.


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