Senators debate religious holiday absences and the death penalty.
By Luke Gremban
The Liberty Committee discussed and voted on their bills and amendments yesterday. Liberty Blue proposed Bill 4454, which would allow students to skip school for religious holidays without being marked absent. A lobbyist for the bill, Kristan Pall, expressed her opinion that the parents of the children should decide when the child is absent and that the school should decide how much make-up homework the child should complete. Dr. Seymour Kids in opposition claimed that the bill addresses only a small part of the issue and would allow children to take extra days off for religions they are not part of. The bill was ultimately passed. An amendment was proposed clarifying that students should make up their homework when they take absences due to religious holidays. Another amendment was proposed that would give the teacher the power to decide whether the child should take their religious holidays depending on their grades. This amendment was voted down by the chair.
Liberty Red proposed a bill that would make capital punishment legal in the case of first degree murders. Lobbyist Ida Reynolds argued in support of the bill: “This isn’t about money, it’s about justice.” She continued to mention there would be a small chance of giving the capital punishment to innocent individuals due to the lengthy legal process. The opposing lobbyist, Mr. Sullivan, mentioned that 41% of the murderers on death row are black, and that blacks make up 13% of the population. The bill passed with support from the chair. Two amendments were proposed. The first mandated that people who are mentally ill would not receive capital punishment. This amendment passed. The second amendment would add an extra investigation into all cases that would result in capital punishment and would include compensation to families if they were found innocent. This amendment was voted down because the time period of the investigation was one month and did not specify the family members who would receive compensation.