If you haven’t already visited my 2016 Session page, you may want to mosey over there and check out the bills that I am following. I have them separated by bills that I support, bills that I oppose, and bills that I am watching to see what develops.
One of those bills that I am watching appeared on the agenda for today’s House Education Committee. HB-428, authored by Rep. Chris Broadwater, forbids local school boards from requiring school uniforms.
As Broadwater took his seat to defend his bill, he appeared to be amused. In his opening statement, he first apologized to all of the superintendents and school board members who called him regarding the bill. Then, he went on to explain.
Earlier in the year, Broadwater visited a 4th grade class at a school in his district. I believe that his children attend the school, but I am not certain. In his visit, he discussed how a bill becomes a law, and invited the class to come up with suggestions for bill topics and things about school that they would like to change. Once they had a good list of ideas, they began to draft the ideas into usable bills.
A short time later, when the legislature wasn’t in session, the entire fourth grade from that school took a field trip to the Capitol. They were invited into the House Chamber where they occupied the seats and presented and defended their bills.
In the end, the bill addressing the use of uniforms in schools got the most support. Broadwater agreed to submit it as a real bill. Which he did.
Broadwater submitted the bill and defended it to the House Education Committee. He explained how the bill came to be, and then he fielded questions from the committee members. When a couple of committee members made valid points, Broadwater agreed to “voluntarily defer” the bill, so that he can take it back to the class for discussion and possible revision. At this time, it is off the calendar, but could return with a better chance of passage.
Kudos to Rep. Broadwater for taking the time to engage these students in this unique learning process. There is no better way to learn about the legislature than to participate in it.