House Speaker Benny Petrus just checked in to respond to a correspondent's report here that there'd been a rump meeting of select members of the House Education Committee this week on account of differences in outlook on education issues with those expressed by Gov. Mike Beebe in his state of the state speech.
Petrus said the meeting included four members of the Education Committee, himself and Chairman Mike Kenney, Vice Chair Bill Abernathy and David Cook, as well as his new House education staff assistant, former Rep. and Sen. Jodie Mahony, and Senate education guru Jim Argue, as well as Sen. Gil Baker. Also present were members of the attorney general's staff who'll represent the state in the ongoing Lakeview case. Petrus, as new House speaker, will soon be added as a defendant in the case. He said the meeting was to discuss a coming report to the Supreme Court on the legislature's attempt to insure adequacy of education. He said he was disappointed at those who would exaggerate, or make things up, about legislative work when he'd worked hard to be open about House activities. He said no teacher pay issue was discussed.
Petrus said further that he wasn't ready to say there was anything Beebe said in his speech that he disagreed with.
OK then. Our original item didn't pin down the purpose of the meeting, it merely speculated on some possible topics. But I think I should add that other members of the Education Committe, who were excluded from this meeting, might have some expertise and thoughts to contribute on the issue of whether the state has done its job on adequacy. And might get suspicious when some members of the Education Committee are invited to a session on education and others are not.