Sage Dixon

There were very few Bills debated this week, with the majority of the Bills passing unanimously. Most of the interesting action was occurring in the Committee rooms with the Business Committee having a 5.5 hour hearing on patient billing practices. This length of hearing, and the emotional testimony involved, is unheard of in the Business Committee. The legislation stemmed from a political battle in the eastern part of the State, and although most were well behaved during testimony, the acrimony was still palpable in the room. Ultimately, the Bill passed Committee with only two members voting against sending H515 to the House Floor with a “Do Pass” recommendation. On the Floor, H440, dealing with discriminatory hiring practices, produced some debate, but easily passed along party lines. Another Bill that generated some discussion was H480. This was a Bill that established a biliteracy diploma for students who show proficiency in English and another language. The debate was over whether or not this was directed at students whose second language is English, and while it has shown to be a positive incentive for those students, it also is a benefit to other students who learn a language other than English.