Last December, GOP Rep. Tim Leonard had the unusual dishonor of being an incumbent state legislature sent to jail for two weeks on a contempt of court charge–a ruling that reportedly stemmed from Leonard’s defiance of court orders giving his ex-wife full educational decisionmaking authority over their minor children.
Well, as the Colorado Independent’s Marianne Goodland reports, Leonard is working the “problem” that resulted in his incarceration from an end most citizens don’t have access to–the legislative end:
State Rep. Tim Leonard, who spent a couple weeks in jail last month on contempt charges stemming, in part, from his effort to opt his children out of certain state tests, has introduced a bill to eliminate some of those same tests for all Colorado public school students.
The tests are known as the Colorado Measures of Academic Success, or CMAS. They are given to students in grades three through 11.
Leonard’s bill would eliminate CMAS testing in social studies and do away with all CMAS assessments for ninth-graders…
House Democrats have not yet made a decision on whether to sanction Leonard for his problems in family court. He was Colorado’s first sitting lawmaker in at least four decades to spend time in jail.
They have, however, protested that Leonard was appointed to the House Education Committee, pointing out that he would be making decisions about public education despite the fact that he is barred by court order from making educational decisions for his own children.
After Rep. Leonard was ruled in contempt of court last October, he complained bitterly about the supposed problems in state law he blamed for the situation, such as the fact that “the school requires two signatures on a form” to opt children out of state tests. Of course, the real issue was Leonard refusing to comply with the court order to stay out of his kids’ educational matters, including his wife’s decision to not opt his children out of testing.
Isn’t Leonard a lucky guy to have this kind of recourse after being sent to jail? The questions this chain of events invites are why some observers speculated that Leonard might not want to be a lawmaker anymore after his release. But as Joey Bunch at the Colorado Springs Gazette reports, Leonard apparently feels no conflict about voting on education policy, even now:
[Rep. Sue] Lontine is sponsoring a bill to impose a statewide ban on corporal punishment in public schools, state-licensed child care facilities and specialized group homes. House Bill 1038 passed the House Education Committee Monday afternoon, 11-2. Republican Reps. Justin Everett of Littleton and Tim Leonard of Evergreen voted against it.
With all due respect, here’s hoping that vote was not motivated by experience.