The Student News Site of Hillsboro High School

The Hillsboro Globe

The Student News Site of Hillsboro High School

The Hillsboro Globe

The Student News Site of Hillsboro High School

The Hillsboro Globe

Legislative Logs: A guide to current TN proposed legislation | Week of 4/1


This week on Legislative Logs we cover the highly controversial school voucher program which could send over 140 million dollars in public funds to private schools and a bill responding to alleged “geoengineering” as well as giving some updates on previously covered bills.

The voucher bill is likely one of the most anticipated bills this year. There has been extensive discussion of the proposal since a pilot program was passed three years ago. There have been several concerns raised and over 60 school boards, and local governments have passed resolutions opposing the program. Firstly, the top issue is how it will defund public schools and sending funds to private schools which have significantly less oversight. The amount given is also a key concern, the program will give around $ 7,000 per student. In Nashville the average private school is about $11,000 a year in tuition. This $4,000 a year disparity is a lot, and many families will still not benefit. The bill also doesn’t exclude currently enrolled private school students therefore families which already have students in private schools could apply for vouchers and effectively get an additional $7,000 for free as long as they make less than 400% of the federal poverty level which is about $124,000 a year for a family of 4.

The bill on “geoengineering” seems to be targeted at a process called “solar radiation modification” with some testifying about the bill even citing a White House report on the process. Solar radiation modification is the idea of spraying various aerosols in our atmosphere to help reflect more of the sun’s energy and reduce global temperatures. It has been proposed as a way to fight against global warming although it should be noted that for the most part this has remained a purely hypothetical concept with the vast majority of research on SRM being via computer simulations and models. The bill bans the spraying of chemicals from aircraft for any reason which would ultimately be harmful as cloud seeding and airborne dispersion of fertilizers is already a widespread practice in agriculture. This bill seems to be based on conspiracies and misrepresented facts.


 School Voucher Bill

By Rep. William Lamberth & Sen. Jack Johnson

This bill expands the education freedom scholarship also known as school vouchers in Tennessee. The program would give 0ver $7,000 to up to 20,000 students to pay to go to participating private schools. The bill also includes countless reforms to Tennessee’s education system such as abolishing the achievement school district which was a program to place underperforming schools under the control of charter school operators although the program showed little improvement.


 Ban on Weather Modification

By Rep. Monty Fritts & Sen. Steve Southerland

This bill would ban the intentional release, or dispersion, of chemicals into the atmosphere with the express purpose of
affecting temperature, weather, or the intensity of the sunlight. The basis of this bill is accusations that organizations like the
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are preforming what is known as “solar radiation modification” or SRM. SRM is a process where aerosols are dispersed into the atmosphere to reflect some of the sun’s radiation and hypothetically lower global temperatures. This is not a thing that is actively done and research into SRM has mostly just been delegated to computer simulations. Cloud seeding was also mentioned which a similar process to encourage rainfall. This is more often done in more arid areas like California where droughts are common.


Bill Updates

Here are some bills we covered previously with their current status.


Flag Ban Bill

By Rep. Gino Bulso and Sen. Joey Hensley

This bill banned all flags in schools except for a list of key exceptions. It was strongly criticized for clearly targeting pride flags. The bill has passed the House of Representatives, and it is waiting to be passed in the Senate before going on to be signed by the Govenor who is likely to sign it. The Senate Education committee passed it in a narrow 5 to 4 vote with 3 republicans joining the committee’s sole democrat in opposition of the bill. It is currently slated to be heard by the Senate Calander Committee at an unknown date.


Phone Ban in Schools

By Rep. Rebecca Alexander and Sen. Jon Lundberg

This bill would require local education administrations to develop a policy to ban phones during education time. The bill failed in the House Education Administration Committee and will likely be tabled in the Senate Education Committee. Several lawmakers expressed their concerns that this bill is overbearing and that local school districts are best suited to develop polices that work for them without the involvement of the state.

Be sure to check in next week for more updates on bills that have major impact on your daily life. If you have comments on these bills, be sure to contact your local lawmakers.

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