Someone once said, “To retain respect for sausages and laws, one must not watch them in the making.”
Such is the case with the planned introduction of an earlier replica of SB 1148. The bill number may change, but don’t be fooled; the result could be an even worse version of the bill the Senate killed on Friday. We heard over the weekend that discussions were underway to potentially resurrect the legislation. Districts were contacting lawmakers and telling them that they would simply be unable to manage their districts without SB 1148, the bill killed by a vote of the full Senate last Friday.
Late this afternoon, the IEA received word from Senate Education Committee Chairman John Goedde (R-CDA), that he will hold a public hearing Tuesday on SB 1040, a bill sponsored by the Idaho School Boards Association that was set aside earlier in the session following a number of meetings among education stakeholders.
SB 1040 includes two elements, one of which is found in HB 259 (which is currently setting on the Senate 14th Order awaiting amendment) and the now-defunct SB 1148.
SB 1040 allows a school 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. It also 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. Unlike HB 259, this legislation does not require a district to complete any investigation of an employee on involuntary paid administrative leave within 60 days. Nor does it assure that a school board could not make changes to contracts and salaries of individual employees. Unlike HB 259 and SB 1148, SB 1040 does not include a sunset clause.
The process that’s used to make sausage might be ugly to watch, but the product of that work is usually appealing and satisfying. The same cannot be said for this most recent attempt to reintroduce another version of SB 1148. If successful, the outcome will be anything but fulfilling or satisfying to the members of the Senate who have already voted on all of the concepts outlined in SB 1040 or for the thousands of Idaho public school teachers who could be negatively impacted by this legislation.
ACTION: Contact members of the Senate Education Committee. Remind them that the Senate has already taken action on all of the concepts outlined in SB 1040. Urge them to hold this bill in committee.
Legislature on the Fast Track to Go Home
If there was any doubt before this week that lawmakers were on the fast track to complete their business and leave town by the end of the week, today’s activity in the House and Senate should make it crystal clear.
Members of the House spent the entire morning on the floor debating bills. By the time they took a break at noon, they had plowed through more than 30 bills and significantly shortened the list of legislation they’ll need to address on Tuesday.
Members of the Senate spent the entire morning working through bills, held brief afternoon committee meetings and returned to the floor late in the afternoon and worked into the early evening. Senators were notified that leadership intends to follow a similar schedule for Tuesday, all in an effort to complete their business by Friday.
Here’s a quick review of the legislation the IEA has been following this session and where these bills are in the process. The list changes daily, so check the Idaho Legislature website for the most up-to-date information about individual bills: