Gov. Owens should be applauded for many of his 17 vetoes on Friday, especially those asking for more government oversight of education. One, Senate Bill 69, called for new definitions of “safe and orderly” schools, a mostly cosmetic bill, and called for things like bullying prevention and safe school hotlines. While those can be important tools, the bill’s suggestions for specific curricula and programs are decisions that should be made in our local schools, which can better gauge student need and community environment.The other, Senate Bill 46, would have created a 29-member advisory council and a separate six-member legislative oversight committee to study and create an “integrated system of education,” from pre-kindergarten through higher education. Had this passed, it would have been doomed to fail. No funding was secured for the payroll of these committees, and the structure would rely mostly on grants and donations. This idea is too big and has too many long-term responsibilities to be just another idea competing with other education groups for too-few dollars. Plus, no specific objectives were set, making it very difficult to measure success.A couple vetoes outside the realm of education might have seemed a little suspect, but were still appropriate. Senate Bill 239 would have regulated the mortuary science industry – something that makes good sense – but it failed because it rushed through legislation, and didn’t grandfather in current practitioners into the licensing process.The other – one that would have mandated 75 percent of all gasoline sold in the state between November and April contain at least 10 percent ethanol – would do nothing to change driver habits, create more public transportation alternatives or encourage the free market away from any burning of fossil fuels – the real need in this state. Plus, ethanol requires more corn growth, which would help farmers, but just add to our state’s water demand which, as we’ve already seen this year on the Eastern Plains, is overwhelming supply.
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