In one of the saddest days in Idaho education history, the House passed Senate Bill 1108, a bill that guts teachers’ rights and ends four decades of productive collaboration between teachers and their school districts.
About two dozen people spoke out against the bill, with only a few backing it in debate. Yet when the votes were cast, the silent Legislative majority prevailed over the will of Idahoans who strongly oppose the bill.
The vote was 48-22, with nine Republicans joining the 13 Democrats in opposing the bill. Please thank the following House members for voting NO on Senate Bill 1108: Reps. Darrell Bolz (R-Caldwell), Cherie Buckner-Webb (D-Boise), Grant Burgoyne (D-Boise), Sue Chew (D-Boise), Gary Collins (R-Nampa), Brian Cronin (D-Boise), George Eskridge (R-Dover), Elfreda Higgins (D-Boise), Bill Killen (D-Boise), Phylis King (D-Boise), Wendy Jaquet (D-Ketchum), Roy Lacey (D-Pocatello), Janice McGeachin (R-Idaho Falls), Jeff Nesset (R-Lewiston), Donna Pence (D-Gooding), Shirley Ringo (D-Moscow), John Rusche (D-Lewiston), Robert Schaefer (R-Nampa), Elaine Smith (D-Pocatello), Leon Smith (R-Twin Falls), Tom Trail (R-Moscow), and Rich Wills (R-Glenns Ferry).
Rep. Cronin made some of the sharpest points about how the bill was little more than a vendetta against the Idaho Education Association and an attack on everyone in the teaching profession. He gave us permission to reprint his testimony in its entirety. (Click here.) On KTVB tonight, Rep. Bolz said his “nay” vote came because 85 to 90 percent of his constituents who contacted him oppose the bill. You can read more about the debate on these Twitter feeds (IdahoEdAssoc, RNettinga, and slfisher) and at Eye on Boise and the Idaho Statesman. There’s a good post-vote analysis by veteran political observer Randy Stapilus at Ridenbaugh Press.
Senate Bill 1110, the unfunded pay-for-performance bill, remains on top of the House calendar for tomorrow. (The House only heard one bill, S1108, in final reading today before it had to adjourn to prepare for a joint hearing of the House and Senate Health & Welfare committees on JHouse Bill 221, the Medicaid budget-cuts bill.) The House will likely take up S1110 shortly after it convenes at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday.
Late this afternoon, Superintendent Luna sent out a press release cheering the passage of S1108 and hinting that a new version of Senate Bill 1113 – the bill which would currently increase class sizes, impose technology mandates, and cut a thousand Idaho education jobs – is on its way. “Superintendent Luna is working with senators on suggested changes to this bill, and a new bill should be introduced soon in committee,” the press release read.
Please join Idaho educators and our allies on Wednesday as we protest the passage of S1108 and the refusal of Idaho lawmakers to listen to the people. The flagship protest and rally are set for 4:30 to 6 p.m. at the Capitol, with other events set statewide. (Here’s a full list.)
Also, take time to email Gov. Butch Otter and urge him to veto Senate Bill 1108. Although that’s unlikely, since he is a sponsor of the Luna plan, we still need to make sure that he hears the same sort of public opposition that Idaho lawmakers heard – whether they heeded it or not – before their votes on the bill.