The coronavirus pandemic changed how legislatures across the country have operated this session. In mid-March, state legislatures had to postpone their regular sessions or adjourn early. Those legislatures that have found ways to operate since then have mostly focused on crisis response. Now, some legislatures have been resuming activity with altered schedules and new safety procedures, and some are taking up non-emergency issues, including pending education data bills. For example, the Louisiana Senate has just approved a privacy bill that would create stricter requirements surrounding the sharing of postsecondary students’ directory information.
Money is going to be a major consideration for whether bills move forward in this environment. In addition to attending to state budgets, states will be contending with what to do about pending or recently enacted legislation requiring now scarce public dollars. For example, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan vetoed the “Blueprint for Maryland’s Future,” a sweeping education reform bill with a number of provisions related to education data, due to the current economic crisis (though the legislature has power to override this veto when it reconvenes).
Regardless of the issue area, state policymaking has an entirely new context and it is likely that new data priorities will emerge as leaders turn their focus to developing recovery policies that support students. As we keep tracking and sharing our insights, you can view past state education data legislative activity here.