The Idaho House will go on the floor extra early tomorrow (Tuesday, March 8) in anticipation of a long morning addressing Senate Bills 1108 and 1110, which now sit atop the House’s calendar for third (that is, final) reading.
Senate Bill 1108 is the union-busting bill that will gut teachers’ rights and end decades of positive collaboration between teachers’ associations and their school districts. Its passage is virtually assured, despite overwhelming public opposition. Senate Bill 1110 is an unfunded mandate for a pay-for-performance system for Idaho teachers. The House Education Committee advanced both bills last week on 13-5 votes.
The House plans to convene at 9 a.m. Members of the public are welcome to watch in the gallery. No signs are allowed, but buttons are OK. If you can’t make it, you can tune in via Idaho Legislature Live.
Any bills that pass will have one final stop before becoming law, and that’s Gov. Butch Otter’s desk. Contact Gov. Otter to urge that he heed public opinion and veto the bills, then plan to join educators near you for Days of Action protests after school on Wednesday, March 9.
In other news today, the House passed House Bill 197, which would require voters in four relatively wealthy districts (Blaine County, McCall-Donnelly, Avery, and Swan Falls) to ask local voters to approve basic property tax levies. In 2006, these districts were allowed to keep those levies in place without voter approval. Since a special session of the 2006 Idaho Legislature, most school districts in the state have lost their maintenance and operations property tax levy and been forced to rely on state funding that has dropped precipitously over the past few years due to lower sales and income tax collections. H197 passed on a 53-14 vote and now goes to the Senate.