Private school or a glass of milk?

Some days I hate Facebook. I would be living in my own little world, not involved in much of anything, taking it easy, enjoying life…if not for Facebook. (Well, at least I feel like I would.)

What has me in such a tizzy tonight? I came across a news article that someone shared, and it made me mad. Really mad.

To sum it up, the House Education Committee passed a bill out of committee with a Do Not Pass recommendation. Here is how HB 1421 reads:

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY OF NORTH DAKOTA:
SECTION 1. APPROPRIATION. There is appropriated out of any moneys in the general fund in the state treasury, not otherwise appropriated, the sum of $1,239,300, or so much of the sum as may be necessary, to the superintendent of public instruction for the purpose of reimbursing school districts for one snack beverage of either milk or juice each day for students qualifying for the free or reduced school lunch program, for the biennium beginning July 1,
2013, and ending June 30, 2015.

The purpose of the bill? To simply provide a snack beverage (milk or juice) for those kids that cannot afford it.

Now, I’m not upset just because of the mean-spiritedness of voting against this type of legislation. I understand that some people firmly believe that government has no place in humanitarian efforts, and that civilization and communities should be able to take care of their own. And if any one of the representatives that voted against this bill would have stated that specifically as their case, I would be a little more lenient in my disgust.

The 10-3 Do Not Pass vote came down to party lines. And the possible loser in the end? Children who cannot afford an afternoon snack.

Do you want to know what really set me off? Three of the representatives that voted against providing milk to underprivileged children have sponsored a bill that will provide state funding (approx. $10,500 per student, at a total of $32 million per biennium) to those students who choose to attend private school. (HB 1466)

Let me clarify. We cannot provide milk to children who can’t afford it, but we will give assistance to families that choose to use private education.

Does this make sense to anyone?

The only logical explanation I can come up with is the party line vote for the school milk issue. It cannot be a concern on funding, or else three members of the House of Representatives just publicly became the biggest hypocrites I’ve seen this year (although, to be fair, it’s only February, so I’m sure I’ll see more).

Last week at meetings I attended, I heard the phrase “It’s politics” thrown around a lot. And I do understand…to a point. But I think it’s about time we expect a little better from those that are elected to represent us, especially at the state level.

Things to remember at the next election.

Update: I just watched the live video feed from the North Dakota House of Representatives. The bill was voted down, by a very large margin. As soon as I have more details, I’ll pass them on. Thank you, to all who have shared this post.

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