House Members Move Several Education Bills
SB 1147a limits all contracts to one year with regard to salaries and benefits; all other portions of the agreement could be extended for no more than two years and includes a sunset provision to make it null and void on July 1, 2014. The IEA reiterated our concerns from debate in the Senate that this legislation further erodes local control.
SB 1149 requires the local association to prove that they represent 50% + 1 of the professional employees in the district in negotiations, should the district request such information and requires both parties to prove they have ratified the master agreement each year. Much like our debate against this measure in the Senate, the IEA told committee members that the concepts in this legislation were pulled directly from the voter-repealed Proposition 1 and the bill does not contain a sunset clause, as the stakeholders had originally agreed to add.
These House is expected to vote on these bills as early as tomorrow.
Today’s House Action
The full House met for several hours in the morning and held a short floor session in the early afternoon. During their time on the floor, the House dispensed with the following education-related bills:
By a vote of 68-0-2, they passed HB 317, the bill that assures Idaho complies with the ESEA waiver by outlining that all certificated employees must receive at least one written performance evaluation each year.
By a vote of 60-9-1, the House passed SB 1146, the IEA-sponsored bill that allows qualifying local school districts to reopen the master contract, if their funding is reduced in future years due to state cuts or failed supplemental levies. This bill now makes its way to Governor Otter’s desk for his consideration.
House members voting NO were: Rep’s. Cindy Agidius (R-Moscow), Vito Barbieri (R-Dalton Gardens), Lenore Barrett (R-Custer), Gayle Batt (R-Wilder), Stephen Hartgen (R-Twin Falls), Shannon McMillan (R-Silverton), Kathleen Sims (R-CDA), Thyra Stevenson (R-Lewiston), and JoAn Wood (R-Rigby).
SB 1133a, the legislation that would require county sheriffs and school boards to create, impose, train and measure the effectiveness of individual school security and safety plans was amended away in the House. Rep. Jason Monks (R-Meridian) replaced the text in SB 1133a with the language from two gun-rights House bills that never received hearings in the Senate: HB 280 and HB 219.
This type of amendment, also known as “radiator-capping” is a rarely used approach lawmakers can use to modify legislation, where the bill number basically becomes the radiator cap. Amending a bill in this manner is much like pulling a car into the repair bay, removing the radiator cap, pulling the car out of the bay and pulling an entirely new car into the repair bay and screwing the cap back into place. The entire vehicle (in this case, the bill) is replaced and the only thing that remains the same is the radiator cap (in this case, the bill number).
Today’s action effectively killed SB 1133a for this session.
Senate Takes Action on Education Bills
Much like the House, members of the Senate spent a considerable amount of time on the floor poring over dozens of bills, further signaling that leaders intend to complete work by Friday.
The Senate took the following action on these bills today:
HB 206a received further, albeit minor, amendments today. The Senate is expected to take up debate on this bill later in the week.
HB 261 passed unanimously. This legislation, supported by the IEA, requires RIF decisions be made by the local school board and encourages the board to adopt a policy establishing how to recall individuals who were subject of a RIF. This legislation also includes a July 1, 2014 sunset date.
Late in the afternoon, the Senate unanimously passed HB 205, the bill that reinstates the two years of movement on the salary grid, assuring school districts receive the necessary $4 million to fully fund education movement on the salary grid for those teachers who have earned college credits over the past few years but who’ve been either unable to move on their local salary schedule or who’ve gone unpaid for that additional education, due to legislative decisions to freeze these payments to school districts.
Senate Committees Kill Several Bills
Members of the Senate Local Government & Taxation Committee killed HB 286, Sen. Bob Nonini’s (R-Post Falls) and Rep. John VanderWoude’s (R-Nampa) tuition tax credit legislation. Only Sens. Steve Vick (R-Dalton Gardens) and Cliff Bayer(R-Boise) voted in favor of the bill.
The IEA had opposed this particular piece of legislation, because tuition tax credits ultimately pave the way to a two-tiered school system funded by public tax dollars and do nothing to improve the education of a few children who receive them. Nor do they and they do anything for the majority of students who remain in public schools that are harmed by the budget cuts required by the loss of tax revenue.
Just like the House, earlier this afternoon members of the Senate Education Committee used the “radiator cap” approach to successfully reintroduce the concepts outlined in SB 1148, the bill killed last week by the full Senate.
The school boards association convinced committee members to send SB 1040 to the 14th Order to remove language in the bill and replace it with the language outlined in SB 1148. Several additional changes were added to the legislation, since a previously defeated bill cannot be reintroduced during the same session.
As we reported in an earlier message, SB 1040 was introduced earlier this session and set aside following stakeholder discussions. Committee members reported having received numerous emails and phone calls from superintendents who assure them that without the language outlined in SB 1148, they will have no alternative but to RIF employees.
In further action, Senate Education Committee members held HB 325 in committee today. This legislation, introduced late last week by Rep. Reed DeMordaunt (R-Eagle) mandated how local school districts would need to spend the 1.67% that is being replaced in the salary-based apportionment (SBA) line in the public school budget. These funds, originally designated for teacher salaries, were taken from SBA to help fund the laws repealed last November. The IEA opposed this legislation because HB 325 assumed that the state can better determine how local school districts expend their funding than the districts themselves.
A Word to the Wise: If actions in the House and Senate have taught us anything this year, it is that we should never expect any legislative concept to be dead until the body adjourns sine die. Much like HB 307 and SB 1148, we would not be surprised to see another version of this HB 325 to reappear before week’s end.