Members of the Senate Education Committee voted Monday to send every bill on their agenda to the 14th Order for possible amendments. Decisions by the committee on each of these pieces of legislation had been held until today’s meeting for a variety of reasons.
Sending bills to be amended is always a risk. First, this late in the session, it is not uncommon for bills to still be setting on the list waiting to be amended when the legislature adjourns sine die—effectively killing the measure. Also, when a bill is sent to the 14th Order, it is fair game for any senator to offer amendments of his/her own. There were signals in today’s committee that on at least several of these bills, there will be competing amendments.
The committee voted to send the following bills to the 14th Order:
- SB 1147 (http://www.legislature.idaho.gov/legislation/2013/S1147.htm) effectively prohibits “evergreen clauses” by limiting all contracts to one year with regard to salaries and benefits and allowing for two year agreements for other items. The sponsor, ISBA, had previously pointed out at least one error in the bill and the AG’s office recommended an additional change to this legislation. Even with the amendments proposed by the sponsor and AG, the IEA still opposes the legislation.
- SB 1148 (http://www.legislature.idaho.gov/legislation/2013/S1148.htm)gives the local school board 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. The sponsor, ISBA, requested that the committee send this bill to be amended, as well, after at least one committee member raised concerns that the bill, as currently written, could allow districts to individually change teacher contracts. Again, even with the proposed amendments, the IEA opposes this bill.
- HB 206 (http://www.legislature.idaho.gov/legislation/2013/H0206.htm) siphons money off the top of the K-12 public school funding for charter schools to offset the costs of purchasing, leasing, or repairing their current facilities. The bill assures that virtual charter schools will also be reimbursed for 50% of their actual building costs. Though there was little discussion of the possible amendments, we can expect that at least one amendment will be offered to allow charter schools to access the bond levy equalization funds in the public school budget.
- HB 221 (http://www.legislature.idaho.gov/legislation/2013/H0221.htm) allows any Idaho college and university—both public and private non-sectarian—and certain non-profit organizations to become chartering entities. After an attempt by Sen. Branden Durst (D-Boise) to hold this bill in committee was defeated, committee members voted to send this bill to the 14th Order. Several committee members mentioned that they may have amendments or have heard of other amendments to this legislation that would address how hearings are conducted and to more carefully define the types of 501 c (3) organizations that can be approved as charter authorizers.
- HB 205 (http://www.legislature.idaho.gov/legislation/2013/H0205.htm) 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. An original motion to send this bill to the floor with a “do pass” recommendation died when Chairman John Goedde (R-CDA) broke a 4-4 tie on a substitute motion to send this bill to be amended, most likely to add a one-year sunset clause.
House State Affairs Approves Initiative/Referendum Measure
SB 1108 (http://www.legislature.idaho.gov/legislat/2013/S1108.htm) came one step closer to becoming Idaho law today when, following virtually no committee debate, members of the House State Affairs Committee sent it to the floor with a recommendation that it “do pass.”
SB 1108 would layer additional requirements onto the already high bar Idaho citizens must clear by requiring that in addition to assuring that at least 6 percent of all registered Idaho voters sign a petition, at least 6 percent of Idaho voters in a least 18 of Idaho’s 35 legislative districts would also need to have signed the petition before a question would be qualified for the ballot.
The committee heard overwhelming testimony against the measure from individuals and organizations who oppose the measure.
The bill now moves to the full House.
Have You Signed the SB 1108 Petition?
Coeur d’Alene citizen activist Anne Nesse shared with House State Affairs Committee members that she started a petition designed to bring attention to SB 1108. Nesse claims that as many as 100 Idaho citizens are signing the petition each day.
This movement, which has been making its way around the Facebook and other social media sites, asks the Idaho State House and Governor Butch Otter to oppose SB 1108 and the efforts of the Idaho Farm Bureau to change the Initiative/Referendum Law in the Idaho legislature.
Have you signed yet? If not, it’s easy to do. Just click on the link and fill out the form. Your name will be automatically added to the petition. You can even leave a statement, if you want.
House Ways and Means Introduces One More Personal Property Tax Bill
In a Monday afternoon meeting, members of the House Ways and Means Committee voted unanimously to introduce a third personal property tax bill, sponsored by the Idaho Association of Counties and other stakeholders. The sponsors told committee members that this ten-page bill answers some of the concerns raised by legislators at an earlier hearing on a previous personal property tax bill, and it further assures that at least 90% of all Idaho businesses will no longer be required to pay personal property taxes.
According to the fiscal note on the legislation, local governments would receive $20 million annually from the state general fund to replace funding that they would have otherwise received from the collection of personal property taxes.
- Creates a new $3,000 exemption on personal property that is purchased on or after January 1, 2013 and has a purchase price of $3,000 or less and eliminates future tracking of these new purchases for personal property tax purposes.
- Triggers the $100,000 exemption on business personal property in Section 63-602KK, Idaho Code, on January 1, 2013 and expands the definition to include operating property, and
- Creates a uniform application process to be prescribed by the state tax commission intended to simplify reporting.