Even with yesterday’s failure of the 2014 public school appropriation on the Senate floor, it was clear today that lawmakers are not letting grass grow under their feet in their effort to complete their work and adjourn sine die.
House and Senate Education Chairs Rep. Reed DeMordaunt (R-Eagle) and Sen. John Goedde (R-CDA), met early Thursday morning with IEA representatives to discuss potential legislative solutions to at least one area of the education budget—differentiated pay. Though Rep. DeMordaunt indicated that his committee would meet early Friday morning to determine whether to print at least one piece of legislation dealing with the FY’14 education budget, that meeting appeared to be cancelled as of Thursday evening.
During the Thursday afternoon Senate Education Committee, Sen. Goedde announced that the Senate and House committees would hold a joint hearing on Monday to consider legislation, but later in the day he sent a message to stakeholders indicating that the meeting was cancelled, at least for the short term.
Neither chairman provided any specific details as to what might have caused the hiccup.
House Passes Two More ISBA-Sponsored Bills
SB 1147a: eliminates “evergreen clauses” and limits all contracts to one year with regard to salaries and benefits and all other portions of the agreement can be extended for no more than two years was approved on a party line vote.
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 also requires both parties to prove they have ratified the master agreement each year.
Both bills passed on a party line vote; they now head to the Governor’s office for his consideration.
ACTION: Contact Governor Otter and urge him to VETO SB 1147a and SB 1149.
Senate Moves Bills Forward
The Senate Education Committee met briefly Thursday afternoon and narrowly approved HCR 33, legislation requesting the President Pro Tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives to appoint an interim committee to undertake and complete a study of how to improve and strengthen Idaho’s K-12 educational system.
When a motion to hold the bill in committee was narrowly defeated, committee members reassessed the legislation and the need for the interim committee and approved a motion to send the bill to the floor with a “do pass” recommendation.
The IEA supports the creation of this interim committee.
Committee members also released the stranglehold they have had on HB 65, the FY 13 “Fix It” bill that will assure school districts receive more than $60 million in funding for the current school year that was put on hold after the voters rejected Propositions 1, 2, and 3 in November.
HB 65 had been held up by the Senate Education committee for more than a month while senators apparently wrangled over various political issues unrelated to the details of this specific piece of legislation. The bill now moves to the floor of the Senate for action.
Just prior to adjourning for the evening, the full Senate unanimously approved H 259.
HB 259a requires that if a district puts an employee on involuntary paid administrative leave, the district will have 60 days to investigate the matter. It also 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. Earlier this week, the Senate amended the bill to require districts to set aside the funds that would have otherwise gone to pay the salary/benefits of a certificated employee who is put on unpaid administrative leave. The bill will now require that if the employees is acquitted, s/he will receive back pay; if the employee is found guilty or pleads to a lesser charge, the district will retain the set aside funds.
This bill now returns to the House for their concurrence on the amendments.