Vote Notes: Congressional Review Act, #2
After President Trump was elected, the Obama administration passed 150 “midnight” rules over its last 60 days in office. They weren't debated. They were again just edicts from Washington. As a consequence, Congress again used the Congressional Review Act this week to take a second look at some of those last-minute regulations. Here’s how I voted:
The Land Management Rule:
I voted to repeal a Department of the Interior rule that shifts public land use planning away from regional field offices to officials at the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in Washington. To give you a sense of scope here, the Bureau of Land Management controls about 247 million acres - over 12 times the size of the whole state of South Carolina. My concern is that centralizing control of such vast amounts of land in an office in DC cuts the people who live on, or near, these lands out of the conversation about how the lands will be used. It seems reasonable to me that people with local knowledge should have more of a say about how public lands are used in their own communities...rather than less.
The Teacher Preparation Rule:
I also voted to repeal an unfunded federal mandate requiring states to collect data on over 26,000 teacher preparation programs for the Department of Education. This requirement takes up a lot of time and manpower and forces state school boards and local school districts to divert financial resources from the classroom to implementation of Washington’s new requirement. I believe teachers and school boards at the local level have the best understanding of their own communities and the students they serve and are, therefore, better equipped to develop and evaluate their own teacher training programs. The bottom line is that teacher training is a state and local responsibility - and if the Feds want to drive requirements here, they should pay for them.
The State Accountability Rule:
Finally, I voted to repeal a rule that weakens the parts of the Every Student Succeeds Act that gave states flexibility with regard to academic achievement standards. Under this rule, states are required to follow rigid federal guidelines defining accountability and improvement. People legitimately see this differently, but the majority of people I have spoken to at home believe education should be driven at a local level not by Washington. Accordingly, I believe these metrics would be better determined by the state and local education agencies that are closer to the parents and students affected.