A bill that all can agree on


David S. Broder, syndicated columnist for The Washington Post, wrote on this page Thursday about his talks with Democratic and Republican governors during their meeting in Washington last week. The thrust of their comments was that, on the state level, both parties are working together to address issues ranging from school funding to health care.

After six years of the worst kind of partisan rancor in the Kentucky General Assembly, that same level of cooperation appears to have arrived here at the Capitol.

Its long overdue.

The Kentucky Senate, the site of some of the fiercest partisan battles in recent years, this week passed an entirely reasonable bill without a dissenting vote sponsored by Senate President David Williams, R-Burkesville.

Two years ago, that probably would not have happened without some Democratic senators in opposition.

Williams bill requires a teacher with a history of drug problems to undergo random drug testing for up to a year to be able to return to the classroom. It also gives local school superintendents the authority to reassign teachers facing felony drug charges to other jobs without contact with students until the charges are resolved.

Much attention is given to the problem of illegal drug use by students in schools, but that problem also can extend to the faculty, staff and even administrators of schools.

Williams Senate Bill 109 isnt harshly punitive, but it succeeds in moving teachers with addiction problems out of the classroom and allows them back when they can demonstrate they have overcome those problems. And it gives teachers facing drug charges a non-classroom job until such time as they are convicted of those charges.

Senate Bill 109 now goes to the House. Its the kind of legislation that House Democrats and Republicans should be able to agree on.

And lets hope the bipartisan attitudes noted in other state legislatures by Broder in his column continue here in the final weeks of the 2006 General Assembly session.

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