March Government Relations Update

Tracking State Legislation Many state legislatures are currently in session, which means it is an important time to stay abreast of legislative developments in states in which you do business. Whether you have a lobbyist who is tracking proposals for you or you are monitoring the news on your own through local Web sites (such as Civil Beat in Hawaii), newsletters or statehouse contacts, you should make state and local updates a top priority.


Rita and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed

Recent Events Rita Ferrandino hosted Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed as the keynote speaker at a recent fundraiser. Mayor Reed spoke of the hard work of civil rights leaders of the past, of the victories, and the need to carry that work forward into the future, with a message of “equal opportunity, not equal outcomes.” On February 29, Arc hosted a Small Business Roundtable with Sol Ross, the Director of Business Outreach for the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Rita also recently hosted Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood, for a discussion on women’s health issues.

Science Testing The House Education and Workforce Committee approved two bills (the Student Success Act and the Encouraging Innovative and Effective Teachers Act on February 28 on a 23 to 16 party-line vote. These bills, introduced by committee chairman John Kline (R-MN) would reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (No Child Left Behind). The Student Success Act will replace Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) by giving states more flexibility in accountability measures, including eliminating the requirement for science testing. The National Science Teacher Association lobbied against this elimination, saying that “removing the existing requirement for testing in science while maintaining testing in math and reading sends a powerful, negative, and unambiguous signal to U.S. schools and the public that science—along with all of its related sub disciplines—is no longer a national priority. If the requirement for science testing is eliminated, schools will shift their limited resources away from science classes, less time will be devoted to science, and professional development for science educators will suffer.” Read more here.