The Pennsylvania Constitution requires that a bill receive consideration on three different days. Therefore, when a bill is reported to the House, its number and title is read by the Speaker (first consideration) and printed on the tabled calendar.
How little I knew about negotiations! I saw them as something that only occurred in rare situations such as when labor and management try to avoid a strike or when two countries meet to peacefully settle a territorial dispute. I never thought that negotiations were involved when laws got passed, and I certainly never thought that I would be personally involved in negotiations. Now I see negotiations as the heart of our democracy, the way our democratic system gets groups headed on a collision course to find a compromise which will satisfy them both.
In August 1988, we were headed on a collision course with the Pennsylvania Department of Education. We wanted a bill that would protect parents so that they could safely choose to teach their own children. The more reasonable people in the Department of Education wanted a bill that would protect children so that no child would receive an inferior education; others at the Department of Education just wanted to prevent as many people as possible from teaching their own children. We were fortunate that the department chose Sarah Pearce from their office of state and federal relations to handle the homeschooling issue. Sarah was friendly and personable, a pleasant contrast to the cold shoulder we were used to. Up until the end of August, the Department of Education had ignored the homeschooling bill. Perhaps they didn't think it would have time to pass by the end of the year.
Then on August 24th, homeschoolers in Pennsylvania won a big victory in court. Federal Judge Edwin Kosik in Scranton finally ruled in favor of the homeschoolers in the Home School Legal Defense Association's Civil Rights Suit (Jeffery v. O'Donnell). Judge Kosik declared that the private tutoring provision in the compulsory education law was unconstitutionally vague and that he would strike it off the books if a new law were not passed, or new regulations promulgated by December 31st.
Unfortunately for us, he had left the option for the Department of Education to promulgate new regulations. Our opponents actually saw the case as a defeat for homeschoolers because the judge had dismissed as being "without merit" almost all of the claims of the homeschoolers that they were being deprived of their constitutional rights.
In the September 2, 1988, issue of the Pennsylvania School Board Association's weekly digest, Information Legislative Service, the PSBA wrote:
Although the tutorial provisions of the commonwealth's Compulsory Attendance Law have been held to be unconstitutionally vague, Judge Kosik's decision, read in its entirety, is a victory for public school education and the premise that the state has a legitimate interest to ensure that all children are properly educated, either in public or private schools or through tutorial programs.
Judge Kosik dismissed as being "without merit" the claims that the Compulsory Attendance Law violates religious liberty; that an approval system by individual superintendents violates due process; that home visits constitute unreasonable searches and are in violation of separation of church and state mandates. . .
In short, the state may properly regulate education and the individual actions of the superintendents designed for that purpose are vindicated.
Our situation was a mixture of danger and opportunity. The danger was that the Department of Education might pass regulations which would virtually prohibit homeschooling. For example, they might simply hold that the proper qualification for private tutors was teacher certification. Such a change, in fact, had earlier been advocated by the PSBA should the law be declared to be unconstitutionally vague.
On the other hand, the court decision made it much more likely that the legislature would pass a homeschooling bill. It suddenly became apparent to all of the parties concerned, including the teachers union and the Department of Education, that something would have to be done by the end of the year, and they'd better get going if they wanted it to be done their way. We had a head start since we had already put a bill together and our version had been approved by the House Education Committee. The department began to scramble to get their version together, and the season of negotiations began.
Because of events that had been set in motion much earlier in the year, I was in an especially good position to speak with authority at these negotiations.
That past April I had been invited to the Educational Research Association's National Conference in New Orleans to respond to papers presented at a session on research into homeschooling. There I heard Jon Wartes, a researcher and homeschooling father from the state of Washington, deliver an important paper on achievement test results of homeschooled children. A few months later, in Pittsburgh, I was invited by Mike Farris of the Home School Legal Defense Association to testify as an expert witness at a homeschooling court case. After the trial, when I drove Mike to the airport, he suggested that I should publish a review of homeschooling research to give myself better credentials for testifying in court, so the next week I put together a review and sent it to Education Week, the Wall Street Journal of education. My review was published on September 14, the same week that I was invited to give a two-and-a-half-hour presentation on homeschooling to the Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators. The upshot of all of these perfectly timed events was that, in the negotiations that were just about to begin, I was able to speak as an expert who had read the research, and whose views were accepted as valid by the educational establishment.
In my Education Week "Commentary" I pointed to the research evidence which showed that homeschoolers are better socialized and score higher on achievement tests than school-educated children.
Then I pointed out that this evidence does not necessarily mean that homeschools are superior to schools since demographic data indicate that homeschooling parents have higher income levels, higher education levels, and higher church or synagogue attendance than the general population. Children from such families, I argued, would probably also do better than average in schools.
Nevertheless, I argued, the evidence certainly did not indicate that schools were superior to homeschools, a position taken by the NEA and the National Association of Elementary School Principals.
In conclusion, I argued that the legalization of homeschools should proceed along the middle ground that was struck by the three-year-old Florida law, rather than along the extremist lines of some states that limit homeschooling to children who score high on achievement tests or whose parents have college degrees or teaching certificates. The Florida law requires parents to keep a portfolio of their children's work and submit to their school superintendents either a certified teacher's evaluation of their children's progress or the results of achievement tests administered by a certified teacher.
The very week that this "Commentary" was printed, the Pennsylvania Department of Education came out with just the sort of extremist position I had described. In response, I wrote Rep. Cowell that I thought that the home education portion of House Bill 2501 was fine the way it was:
I think that you have put together a model piece of legislation which carefully balances the children's right to receive an education and the parents' right to choose the form of education for their children. Although it is currently coming under attack from the Pennsylvania Department of Education, I think that every piece of it is reasonable.
On the other hand, I think the Department of Education's position is totally indefensible.
Then I went on to cut to pieces every aspect of the Department of Education's proposal as leading to prosecutions of sincere homeschooling families or being contrary to research evidence. I concluded:
You have found us very willing to compromise in the past, but we are unwilling to compromise much farther. While we strongly support House Bill 2501, we would strongly oppose any bill that would continue the prosecution of sincere homeschooling families in Pennsylvania.
On October 3, the evening before yet another homeschooling rally, Rep. Cowell called together homeschooling leaders to meet with the Department of Education and negotiate about several additions to the bill that were being requested by the Department of Education.
We had a tense negotiating session with the Department of Education in a meeting room near Rep. Cowell's office. Present at that meeting were Rep. Cowell, Rep. Davies, Greg White, and Jan Bissett of the House Education Committee; Sarah Pearce and Donna Wall of the Department of Education; Stinson Stroup director of the Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators (PASA); and Tom Eldredge, Mike Farris (Home School Legal Defense Association), Bob Finley, and I representing homeschooling.
At the beginning of the meeting, Rep. Cowell asked Sarah Pearce from the Department of Education to explain the department's position. Donna Wall, the commissioner for basic education, had not yet arrived. Sarah explained that they wanted homeschooling to be evaluated simply upon the basis of achievement tests.
Tom Eldredge asked, "Why the change from House Bill 2501?" The Department of Education, contrary to an earlier request by Rep. Cowell several weeks before, had not put their position in terms of amendments to House Bill 2501, but had instead written up their own bill, which was entirely different.
Rep. Cowell also had sharp questions for the Education Department: "Why this format if you're seeking to permit homeschooling? Why do you still lump private tutoring and home education together? Why the dependency on tests? Why the language that provides for a four-year differential for the parents?" The Department was asking that parents have four more years of education than the children they teach.
Sarah said that the department wanted to deal with the court case and specifically the issue of vagueness in the present law. She also said that they liked testing because it permitted comparisons between public and private education.
Rep. Cowell said, "One problem with testing as the sole measure is that in the appeal process, a parent of a student who didn't meet the fortieth percentile really has no place to go. The whole appeal process becomes a sham." (The Department was holding that children who didn't score above the fortieth percentile could not continue to be homeschooled.)
Later Greg White said, "The issue of testing is control of curriculum. If you require certain tests you control the curriculum. This provision doesn't allow you to use a test of your own choosing. If the test does not match the curriculum then the test does not mean a whole lot."
Donna Wall had arrived by this time. She argued that the tests would permit continuity when a child moved from one school to another or from homeschools into public schools.
Greg argued that schools already don't have that continuity when children move in from other states or transfer from non-public to public schools.
Rep. Cowell said, "I have a concern with the absolute nature of the test results. We don't say to the public schools, If the kid fails, then nothing else." Then he went back to his first question, "Why this approach that continues to lump home education with tutoring generally?"
Mike Farris then suggested that the bill could deal specifically with the vagueness of the private tutoring statute by tightening that part up without lumping home education with private tutoring. That would meet the judge's directive in the Jeffery Case.
Later Donna Wall stated the old argument that certainly the homeschoolers in this room were doing an excellent job of teaching their children, but what about the ones out there? She told about her own experience as a superintendent denying a request for homeschooling from a disabled parent who only wanted to keep her child at home so that her child could take care of her.
I replied, "One thing that everyone in this room agrees is that we are concerned about the children. None of us advocates a law that would allow parents to say that they're educating their children when indeed they are not. But on the other hand, we are also concerned that parents' rights are not trampled on. When I met with you at the Department of Education, Donna, you told me about this woman who wanted to keep her daughter home to provide nursing care, and just a few weeks later I was reading about Clara Barton's homeschooling experience. Often homeschooling gives children a different educational experience from the norm, and sometimes these unusual experiences have helped our country tremendously. Clara Barton was taken out of school at a young age because she was school phobic. She was the youngest in the family, and had several brothers who were much older than her. One of her older brothers had tuberculosis and she spent a year nursing him back to health. She went on to found the American Red Cross."
Later I asked the department why they had rejected the position of the National Association of State Boards of Education that parents should have a choice in evaluation methods and I read the NASBE recommendation:
Yearly evaluation may be achieved in many ways -- through reports by certified teachers, achievement testing, or production of a portfolio of a child's work. . . . State boards should be mindful that they cannot legally regulate or require more of the homeschooled children than required of the public school children. . . . Regardless of the evaluation method utilized by the state, the state should provide the parent at least two choices.
Donna replied that I was reading from a working paper, not their final position. In "Bridge" terminology, she thought she was trumping my statement. Then Mike Farris overtrumped. He said that that was, indeed, their final position, and that he, himself, had helped negotiate it. Then I passed along a copy of their recommendations to her, with a cover letter to that effect.
Later we discussed the education of the handicapped and the Department of Education's wording which appeared once again to prevent parents from teaching handicapped children. We were shocked to find that the Department of Education had gone back to its original position on this issue despite the compromise that we had achieved in the House Education Committee. Sarah Pearce was not able to believe that her department had taken this unreasonable position. She argued that the intention was to permit parents to send their children to public schools for special education classes if they so desired. Donna Wall cut in and said dryly that the intention was indeed to keep parents from teaching special education children.
I said, "I am aware that the department did not attend the December 3 hearings and is probably unaware that many parents are homeschooling handicapped children specifically because the schools were not meeting their particular needs. When this issue was raised in the House Education Committee, the members were inundated with testimony from these parents. Here is some written testimony submitted by Lloyd and Deborah Ehmann at the December 3 hearings. Their son had moved from learning disabled classes to classes for Educable Mentally Retarded (EMR) and was being moved to classes for Trainable Mentally Retarded (TMR) when he was taken out of school to be taught at home by his parents. Then I read a portion of the Ehmanns' testimony:
He was too bright for one and too dull for the other. We were caught between a rock and a hard place. Should we allow him to suffer frustration in EMR or regress academically and mentally in TMR? . . .
Now, our son can tell time on the hour and half-hour with a rate of accuracy we never thought attainable. He can recognize and state the value of a penny, nickel, and dime. He can read any three letter word with a short "a" or a short "o" in the middle! He can read over thirty sight words! He knows the boundaries of our neighborhood. He's been to the historic sights in Philadelphia, learning where our history was made. He will move on to the state law before the school year is through.
"They go on to note," I continued, "how he is participating in horseback riding classes and so on. These parents are doing an excellent job of educating their child."
Over the course of that long negotiating session, we went through every part of their proposal and we agreed to several things the Department of Education wanted, including criminal checks, immunizations, medical checkups and lists of objectives to be turned in with the affidavit. When Rep. Cowell later wrote up the changes that were negotiated, he accepted Sarah Pearce's misinterpretation of the department's position and gave parents the option of sending their children to special education classes at schools if they so desired. We also got free use of public school textbooks and other curricular materials should we want them. We hoped that the department would accept our concessions and support the bill now as a compromise.
Our October 4 rally the next day was a great success. About 500 homeschoolers from across the state came to Harrisburg for a press conference in the rotunda. First, Tom Eldredge, Rep. Joe Pitts, and Rep. Ron Cowell addressed the press. Rep. Cowell went on record as our champion, and told of his plan to attach the home education bill to a Senate vehicle. This would put our bill on the "fast track," making it possible for it to pass before the end of the legislative session.
Then the McElroy family -- Gary and Betty McElroy and three of their children, Christy (12), Charisa (10), and John (8) -- performed the same delightful musical review of home education which they had earlier presented both at the meeting with Rep. Davies and also at the legislative breakfast:
Mr. McElroy: Ladies and gentlemen, for your further edification and enlightenment straight from a tour before the crowned heads of Europe, the McElroy family players. They will be giving you, this morning, an inside glimpse into an actual homeschool situation. The cast of characters is Brainella played by Christie, Doprina played by Charisa, and Euclid played by John.
The scene is a typical homeschool with three students and a parent teacher. One student proceeds to solve an extremely complicated math problem:
Euclid: Sixty percent of the number of blues exactly equals the number of whites. Five times the number of reds is equal to twice the number of whites. If the total number of all three colors is 140, how many were reds, how many were whites, and how many were blues. Let's see here. 75 were whites, 45 were blues, and 20 were reds.
Then another student complains:
Doprina: I have been working on a problem for two hours, my brain cells are overloaded. I can't seem to figure out what two plus two is.
Brainella: Maybe I can help you with that.
Then Brainella proceeds to go through an extremely complicated series of steps:
Brainella: Let X equal the answer. 2 plus 2 equals X. Subtract 1. Divide both sides by 2. Simplify, 2 equals X over 2. Multiply by 2. 2 times 2 equals X. 4 equals X. Therefore 2 plus 2 equals 4.
This was followed by a song about mathematics to the accompaniment of Mrs. McElroy on the piano. Then came spelling class and three different musical renditions of the alphabet, including a rhythmic dance music version and a Mozart version in three part harmony. The McElroys were sensational as usual!
The legislators who were watching the rally were impressed. John Wilson overheard the following conversation between two representatives:
Representative 1: What's this?
Representative 2: It's a rally for home education legislation.
Representative 1: Oh, yeah? I've really been getting some pressure from the Department of Education to make some changes in this.
Representative 2: Well, if these people want to educate their own kids, I think we ought to leave them alone.
Representative 1: Yeah, they've got some real success stories.
Representative 2: Yeah, they really do.
Three homeschooled children also spoke -- Brandon Geist, Maggie Smeltzer, and Holly Hageman. All of the children showed tremendous poise in this pressure-packed situation.
An AP wire service story reported the rally. It was accompanied by an AP Laserphoto showing a determined looking Herb and Nancy Van Schoik holding a sign which said "I Love Homeschooling," while their six year old daughter, Michelle, lay her head on her mother's lap, and their ten year old son, Isaac, looked on.
The most important event to occur that day was a fruitful meeting with Sen. Ralph Hess, the powerful Chair of the Senate Education Committee. An earlier meeting, arranged by Sen. Pecora, had occurred in his Harrisburg office right after the spring legislative breakfast. At that time, Sen. Hess had told us about his background investigating child abuse cases, and that he would always regret leaving one particular child with parents who later murdered him. Peter Bergson told him that abuse of parents by school officials was going on under the current law, and that homeschoolers were not child abusers, but Sen. Hess remained noncommittal.
We began to win over Sen. Hess that summer when about 50 York County homeschoolers met with him at a church near his house in York County. Both parents and homeschooled children gave presentations. Sen. Hess was especially charmed by Rachel Rauch, an eleven-year-old homeschooled girl who gave her talk without reading from her notes. At that meeting he said that he supported the idea of making uniform standards for home education across the state of Pennsylvania, but he had problems with the idea that homeschoolers could have their children evaluated by non-public school teachers, as in House Bill 2501. He also told the group that they had a very effective lobbyist in Rachel Rauch.
So, at our meeting at his Harrisburg office the morning of our October 4 press conference, several parents -- and Rachel Rauch -- spoke to him in the front of his office while several of the other children played quietly in the back. I explained to Sen. Hess that we had just negotiated some changes in the home education part of House Bill 2501 the evening before in a meeting with the Department of Education in Rep. Cowell's office. He asked about the provision that non-public school teachers be permitted to evaluate the children. I said that we had put that provision into the law because many non-public schools are currently supervising home education programs. He said that he hadn't realized this was happening, and therefore the provision would no longer be a problem for him.
He asked if it were true, as one of his constituents had written him, that the Department of Education wanted three things: (1) parents must have four more years of education than the grade levels they teach, (2) achievement tests should be the sole means of evaluation, and (3) parents must get prior permission to homeschool.
I said, "Yes, I have their written position in my briefcase now. Would you like to see it?" He expressed his annoyance that the Department of Education was coming up with positions and not telling him. "Something is wrong when I find out about their position from my constituents first."
One of his constituents, Nancy Kilgore, pointed out that the bill would have to pass as an amendment to a Senate bill. Sen. Hess asked what Senate bill. We didn't know. I naively said that if there was a particular bill that he would like to see passed, maybe we could ask Rep. Cowell to add the amendment to that bill. He said that if he picked a particular bill it would be to help a senator in a close election battle with a Democrat, and that if he suggested one bill, Rep. Cowell would be sure to pick another one. Finally, Sen. Hess said that he would vote "yes" if the homeschooling bill came over as an amendment to a Senate vehicle.
At one point he said that if the State Board of Education made regulations, they would have to be approved by his Senate Education Committee. I said, "I may be wrong, but according to Rep. Joe Pitts, the Secretary of Education can satisfy Judge Kosik by promulgating emergency regulations in December without going through your committee." He agreed that that was so.
Later that day, I met for a few minutes with Sen. Madigan, a member of the Senate Education Committee. He told me that he had spoken to Sen. Hess just that morning, and that Sen. Hess had indicated that he would support the home education bill when it came through on a Senate vehicle. Sen. Madigan would also now support the bill.
A few days after the rally, Rep. Cowell came up with two drafts, one or the other would be added to Senate Bill 154 so that it could pass before the end of the year. Draft B required homeschoolers to give their children yearly achievement tests, while Draft A did not.
Meanwhile, Tom and I were getting back to homeschooling leaders from across the state to get their input. Many had a big problem with the idea of having to get a criminal clearance from the state police put into the homeschooling bill. Tom laid out a compromise proposal to the state-police check in an eloquent letter that he sent to Rep. Cowell:
There is one final problem we have with both drafts. Since our meeting on Tuesday, I have been running into more opposition to the criminal record check on the grounds of principle. Personally, Howard and I support the effort to find a way to prevent the possibility of child abuse under this law. We would like to offer an alternative to the state-police check presented in the drafts which we believe would be more effective, and at the same time avoid setting a bad precedent in respect to parental rights. . . .
This state police check is almost a farce when applied to home education programs because the supervisor's spouse is not included in the check.
Tom went on to suggest that both parents simply sign on the affidavit that they had not been convicted of the crimes. This would meet parents' objections to a state-police check and further protect the children because both parents would be included.
When I next spoke with Rep. Cowell, I asked him which draft he planned to go with, Plan A or Plan B. I told him that I felt that Plan A would be an excellent bill, but that I wasn't sure how well Plan B would work. If achievement tests were required, superintendents might just look at the score and ignore all of the rest of the portfolio. Rep. Cowell said that he would go with Plan A, he had only included Plan B in hopes that if he went with what the Department of Education wanted, the department would keep the PSEA in line.
The legislative sessions from October 10 through October 12 were extremely hectic. On October 12 they would break to go home and campaign for the general election and not come back into session until the middle of November. The House was busy trying to get a host of bills passed to the Senate before the election. Because of a rule that required each bill to be considered (read aloud) on three different days before it could be voted upon, the leadership was playing tricks with the calendar. While the real date might be October 12, the House might be officially calling it October 6. Barb Snider sat in the gallery watching as they would say the invocation and the pledge of allegiance, read bills, then bang the gavel closed for October 6, say the invocation, the pledge of allegiance and read bills for October 7, and then bang the gavel closed for October 7.
In the midst of all of this activity, on October 12 the House Education Committee struck out the old language of Senate Bill 154, and amended in the language of Plan A except that it included the change in the criminal-check procedure that had been requested by Tom.
Senate Bill 154, then called the "Taj Mahal" bill, had originally passed the Senate as a bill which changed the school code by limiting how much school districts could pay for school construction. It was the Senate's response to the outrageous cost of some new school buildings which were built like "Taj Mahals." The language in the bill had already been incorporated into another bill and passed. Now the House Education Committee had amended out all of the language except for the beginning statement that the bill amended the school code; then they put in entirely different language into it, turning it into the homeschooling bill.
The procedure of taking all of the language out of a bill was called "gutting" a bill. Earlier in the session, a bill sponsored by Sen. Armstrong which reduced the occupation tax for ministers had been gutted by the House and turned into a bill that permitted candy companies to put liquor in chocolate. After the House passed it with the new wording, it came back to the Senate for concurrence to the changes made by the House. Sen. Armstrong withdrew his name as the sponsor of the bill; nevertheless the Senate voted to concur with the bill and it passed into law, although it didn't have a single official sponsor.
So we now had another new homeschooling bill with yet another number to remember. We were back in the running, and all was proceeding according to plan until Rep. Davies began to propose some amendments to the transformed bill. He had kept them secret from us, and so we had had no time to lobby against them. While a handful of homeschoolers, including Mary Hudzinski, Barb Snider, and Tom Eldredge, sat helplessly in the audience, the committee accepted Davies' amendments. The worst one sounded innocuous, but was a disaster for our bill. It seemed designed to make homeschooling prohibitively expensive. Parents would have to get a licensed psychologist to do year-end evaluations of their home education programs at a possible cost of about $500 per year. Before Tom Eldredge left Harrisburg, he told Rep. Cowell, "This will have to be changed."
After the meeting, Rep. Cowell told a reporter for the Associated Press that the new version of the bill addresses "95 percent" of the concerns expressed by parents.
The next morning Rep. Cowell held a meeting to arrange a compromise between the organized lobbies of the educational establishment and the leaders of the homeschoolers. For the first time we would be face to face with our behind the scenes opposition. We suspected that they had had a lot to do with the Davies amendment. Present were representatives of the PSEA (Pa. State Education Association), PSBA (Pa. School Board Association), and PASA (Pa. Association of School Administrators). Homeschoolers were represented by Rep. Pitts, Rep. Freind, Tom Eldredge, Robert Finley, Alan Koch, Mike Farris (Home School Legal Defense Association), Gary Hornberger (Pennsylvanians for Biblical Morality), and me. Rep. Davies was not present, though a statement from him suggesting changes was read aloud at the beginning of the meeting.
Rep. Cowell arrived a little late. Before he got there, I attempted a little humor, "I think there is one thing that we can all agree on. Whoever does the evaluations should not be the same person who looks at the calendar and tells the House of Representatives what day it is!" Everyone laughed. It was just about the only note of levity in a very tense meeting.
When Rep. Cowell arrived, he laid out the ground rules for the meeting. We were only meeting to consider the qualifications of the evaluator. The achievement testing issue was closed. We worked at wording for two hours. Finally, a compromise was reached which permitted year-end evaluations of home education programs by non-public school teachers or Pennsylvania certified teachers, so long as the teacher had two years of experience at the appropriate level (elementary or secondary) within the previous ten years. Thanks to Mike Farris's brilliant last-minute thinking, a provision was also added which permitted anyone else to do year-end evaluations with the prior approval of that person by the school superintendent. With this compromise, homeschoolers in friendly districts would still be able to homeschool with year-end evaluations by fellow homeschoolers who have teaching certificates. In unfriendly districts, homeschoolers would be able to homeschool with year-end evaluations by friendly public and non-public school teachers.
At one point, one of the lobbyists for the PSBA tried to reopen the issue of mandated achievement testing: "We might be able to reopen the issue of who could do evaluations if you would be willing to accept achievement tests."
I jumped in. "We have already agreed that we were not meeting to discuss achievement tests."
Rep. Cowell put in, "The House has just voted to tie funding for school districts to improvement in TELS test scores. Pretty soon some of your people will come squawking to you, and you will be coming to me saying that you should not be judged on the basis of achievement test scores."
We didn't hear another word that day from the PSBA, PSEA, or PASA that homeschoolers should be judged on the basis of achievement test scores.
Rep. Cowell's plan was to change the bill at its next stop in the Appropriations Committee, or possibly later on the House Floor. At the end of the meeting, Rep. Cowell asked the lobbies if they would support the bill now that this compromise had been reached. They still refused.
On October 12, Senate Bill 154 was reported to the House. It appeared on the calendar and was read for its first consideration. Then it was assigned to the Appropriations Committee while the House recessed for the general election.
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