Where Are the Bills?
According to the schedule, the Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee (JFAC) is on track to complete the budget setting process tomorrow. This is usually a sign that the session is nearing an end; once the money is allocated and budgets are set, lawmakers are much less likely to introduce or support a new idea that costs additional money.
As this eighth week of the session is quickly coming to a close, there have been many questions about the bills introduced by the school boards and school administrators that originated from the voter-rejected Proposition 1.
All but a few of the bills have been rewritten for a third time, and both education committee chairs have begun to set hearing schedules for them. The following chart outlines the bill number, topic, and a brief description of each of the dozen or so bills to be debated.
Several of the bills include one-year sunset provisions, effectively making them null and void on July 1, 2014. In what has begun to sound like a mantra, the IEA has been telling lawmakers that we’re uncomfortable lending our support to any piece of legislation resembling the three repealed propositions. However, in some (but not all) instances, we have been more likely to support legislative proposals that include one-year sunsets.
Our reasoning is based on the fact that one-time expenditures and sunset clauses assure that the Governor’s Task Force has time and space to continue to do their work and bring a well-reasoned and well-researched proposal to the 2014 session.
Here is a list of the bills that were pulled directly from one or more of the recently repealed propositions. We’ll be providing the IEA position on each of these bills, and others, tomorrow.
WHAT DOES IT DO?
|HB 163||Teacher Contracts||Allows districts to deliver individual contracts to teachers via email. In the event the teacher does not respond to the email within a specific time period, the district would be required to follow up via certified mail.
|HB 259||Involuntary Leave||Requires that if a district puts an employee on involuntary paid administrative leave, the district will have 60 days to investigate the matter; it further allows the district to stop paying the salary and benefits of any employee if a court order prevents the employee from carrying out his or her contractual duties.|
|HB 260||Negotiations||Requires all negotiations to be completed by June 10 of each year or the district must impose its last, best offer. Also allows either party to call for mediation, as long as the mediation is completed before June 10.
SUNSETS July 1, 2014
|HB 261||RIF||Requires RIF decisions be made by the local school board and encourages the board to adopt a policy establishing how to recall individuals who have been the subject of a RIF. SUNSETS July 1, 2014|
|SB 1089||ERIP||Repeals the Early Retirement Incentive Program (ERIP) for teachers, a program which has been in place since 1996 and, based on calculations by the IEA, has saved the state nearly $100 million over the past 14 years.|
|SB 1092||Math and Science Teachers||Allows for permanent and ongoing funding for math and science teachers.|
|SB 1098||Open Negotiations||Requires all negotiations between the school district and the local association be held in public. The IEA initially developed this legislation as an alternative to a bill introduced by the Idaho School Boards and Idaho School Administrator’s Associations.|
|SB 1147||Master Agreements||Limits all contracts to one year with regard to salaries and benefits and any other items to a two year duration; it further defines benefits to include health insurance, leave time, and sick leave benefits. Also eliminates Fact Finding. SUNSETS July 1, 2014|
|SB 1148||Teacher Contracts||Gives the local school boards sole authority to reduce or increase contract days and/or reduce or increase the salary of employees for any reason or no reason whatsoever and further deny an individual due process hearing for affected employees. SUNSETS July 1, 2014|
|SB 1149||Negotiations||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. Also, requires both parties to prove they have ratified the master agreement each year.|
|SB 1150||Board Hearings/Court Review||Limits courts from considering new evidence, should a board hearing be challenged in District Court.|
Involuntary Leaves and Last Best Offer Bills on Tap Tomorrow
The IEA will be joined by several of members who will attend the meeting to share their experiences with the bargaining law and their concerns about the unintended consequences of reinstatement of HB 260. Even with a sunset provision, the IEA cannot support this piece of legislation.
In addition, IEA General Counsel Paul Stark will be on hand to provide lawmakers with the IEA’s concerns about HB 259.
[alert type=”danger” close=”no” title=”TAKE ACTION:”]Contact members of the House Education Committee and urge them to vote NO on HB 259 and HB 260.[/alert]