A Novel Idea

Day Six – the second Monday of the Walk Out. I spent today inside the Capitol building. It seems like the crowd was bigger today than ever before. I must admit, I was worried about the stamina of this movement, but it is not slowing down. It’s clear that more and more educators and supporters are in it for the long haul. We’ve had mixed reviews, of course. I had a parent message me today wondering if Norman was backing down because we hadn’t heard about Tuesday’s closure yet. I was able to reassure them fairly quickly, because about that time we received the Tuesday closure notice and the survey about whether we should close Wednesday.

Then you’ve got the stories people are telling me about people honking at the marchers on their way to the Capitol, telling them to go back to work and calling them names. We still have people suggesting the state fire ALL of us (and replace us with whom, exactly?). Staying strong by remembering that Ad hominem attacks are a sign that you have no reasonable argument.

Here we are, getting closer to rivaling the West Virginia movement and not getting closer to an agreement. Some things I heard today:

Capital Gains is still a no-go. Even with the ag exemption, and for some, especially with the ag exemption. It seems there is no way to win that one to everyone’s satisfaction.

HB 3113 is a measure that would raise the income tax on higher earners. It creates two new brackets (if I’m understanding the text of the bill correctly) – one for $100,000/$200,000 (individual/joint) and one for $250,000/$400,000 (individual/joint), taxing at 6% and 7%, respectively. Thank you, Eric Proctor!!!

This sounds like an awesome idea! Now, to get it heard.

Because, you guessed it, Inman did his thing again during session today. He moved to suspend the rules in order to hear bills that were not on the agenda: SB 1086 with ag exemption (failed 26 aye, 58 nay), HB 3113 (failed 26 aye, 61 nay), and HB 2985 (failed 33 aye, 57 nay), and also objecting to adjournment (adjourning passed with 50 aye, 24 nay until tomorrow at 9:30 am).

Quick reminder that SB 1086 is capital gains, HB 3113 is Proctor’s income tax increase on higher earners, and HB 2985 is the COLA raise for retirees. At least the COLA raise died a little slower than the other two…

Haven’t heard about the status of Wind. Doesn’t look like anything about it was mentioned in committee today, but I could be missing a page on the legislature’s convoluted website.

So, to sum up – we are still waiting on 1010 to actually be fully funded. And remember when the House passed it and we all said it wasn’t enough? Funny how we’ve started week two and they haven’t even finished funding what isn’t enough…

Tomorrow, my work wife (Gwinner) and I will switch places. She will be inside (hopefully) giving me the play-by-play of session and I will be outside talking to people. I’ll also have my daughter, Hope, with me at the Capitol for the first time since this thing started, so you might see us hanging out and trying desperately to have a little fun so she doesn’t lose her cool. I hope you’ll forgive me if I do that annoying mom thing and post a lot of pictures. 🙂

In other news, we got 23 Representatives to sign a commitment card today that says if capital gains (with ag exemption) gets heard on the floor, they will vote yes. Our goal is 51. I even got an awesome picture with Rep. Proctor!

Wow. I look super uncomfortable…he’s a really cool guy, though!!

And Jon Echols was kind enough to let me hang out in his office and listen to session. Mark McBride did, too, but his speakers weren’t very loud (his awesome L.A. said one was broken) and there were people in there talking, so I had to move. Thanks, Mark – I know you tried. 🙂 Also, please note that Mark was one of only two Republicans that have so far signed our commitment cards on 1086. Just sayin’.

Any way, speaking of nice people, we may be really unhappy with Echols right now, and I’m not saying we shouldn’t be, but he’s been very nice, even through our loudly expressed frustrations that he ABSOLUTELY REFUSES to let 1086 be heard on the floor. Teary-eyed people passionately telling him his decision to not hear it is unethical, and his tone stays kind as he asserts his decision is final…for this session.

And, ultimately, if we are going to solve this issue, we could use more people showing a little kindness, empathy, and compassion. It gets conversations much farther and sometimes, sometimes it can change hearts and minds and allow people to actually work together.

Strange concept, I know.

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