With all “three pillars” of the Luna plan passed and the end of the 2011 Idaho Legislature within sight, Monday still saw the introduction of several school-related bills in the House Education Committee.
Two of the three so-called “trailer bills,” House Bills 335 and 336, passed the House Education Committee and await votes in the full House. They add emergency clauses to Senate Bills 1108 and 1110, which have already been signed into law by Gov. Butch Otter. A third bill introduced today (House Bill 345) would add emergency clauses to Senate Bill 1184, which just passed the House on Friday. According to a news story by Jessie Bonner of the Associated Press:
The emergency clauses will make the education reforms go into effect immediately, not on July 1, like most new state laws. The move aims to prevent a planned referendum campaign from delaying implementation of the laws until after the November 2012 election.
Without the emergency clauses, a referendum petition could stop the new laws until after a public vote, said Luna's chief of staff, Luci Willits.
“The state department is not taking anything for granted,” Willits said. “If these laws are halted in implementation, education will be in limbo for at least 18 months.”
The Idaho Education Association – together with parents and others who oppose the Luna laws – is considering a referendum campaign for a citizens’ veto of the bills. Also from the AP story:
The passage of the so-called emergency clauses will not impact the referendum campaign spearheaded by the teachers union, said Idaho Education President Sherri Wood.
“We always knew we were going to have to live under these bills until November 2012,” Wood said. “We knew that.”
In other news today:
Rep. Cliff Bayer (R-Boise) introduced a bill to remove the cap on formation of new charter schools each year. (The current law is six per year.) The House Education Committee nixed an attempt to send it straight to the House floor without a public hearing, but it has been printed as House Bill 346. Read more at Eye on Boise.
House Bill 314 – the bill to eliminate state subsidies for driver’s education in the public schools – is dead for the session after the House voted to return it to committee.