We’ll start this week’s recap by looking ahead: Senate Bills 1108 and 1110 are on the third reading calendar for the House on Monday morning, March 7, although there’s at least one highly contentious bill ahead of them.
This means these two Luna bills could get their final readings as early as Monday, but it’s more likely they’ll come Tuesday or perhaps Wednesday. Stay tuned on Monday, and in the meantime, check the Days of Action listings for weekend activities near you and contact House lawmakers to vote NO on S1108 (the union-busting bill) and 1110 (the unfunded pay-for-performance bill).
In other news this week:
Today, the House passed House Bill 104 by a 55-14 vote. The bill would prohibit school districts from using public money to pay union leaders or pay for release time for educators to attend union-related events such as Delegate Assembly. Please thank Rep's. Buckner-Webb (D-Boise), Burgoyne (D-Boise), Cronin (D-Boise), Higgins (D-Boise), Jaquet (D-Ketchum), Killen (D-Boise), King (D-Boise), Lacey (D-Pocatello), Pence (D-Gooding), Ringo (D-Moscow), Rusche (D-Lewiston), Smith(D-Boise), Smith (R-Twin Falls), and Trail (R-Moscow) for their vote against this ill-conceived measure.
The overwhelming majority of IEA local presidents are volunteers, but a handful of Idaho educators work full time on behalf of educators in the state’s largest districts under arrangements bargained by their locals. The IEA opposes H104 because it takes away local control. H104 now heads to the Senate, so ask your Senator to vote NO on H104.
Thursday, the House Education Committee took nearly five hours hearing final testimony (including from the IEA) and asking questions regarding Senate Bills 1108 and 1110. The votes on the bills were 13-5. If you have not already done so, please thank Rep's. Chew (D-Boise), Cronin (D-Boise), Nesset (R-Lewiston), Pence (D-Gooding), and Trail (R-Moscow) for their opposition to these bills.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, the committee spent two full mornings hearing public testimony on both bills. Fewer than a dozen people spoke in support, and about 100 offered reasons why the bills should not be passed. But as we’ve seen so far on the Luna plan, public opinion isn’t holding much weight with lawmakers. Meanwhile, Senate Bill 1113 is stuck in the Senate Education Committee. It fate is uncertain, though Luna was vowing midweek to revive the measure that would cut up to a thousand education jobs and impose technology mandates on Idaho schools.
This week was also marked by widespread student walkouts against the Luna plan. High school students in American Falls, Boise, Nampa, and other towns got the ball rolling Monday, organizing their efforts via Facebook and text messaging. The walkouts took adults by surprise, including the IEA, which issued this statement. By Tuesday, students in Twin Falls were walking out – or trying to. (The Twin Falls High principal locked down his school down to prevent students from leaving.) Students from Mountain View High School in Meridian and North and South Junior High in Boise followed suit on Wednesday, as did students in Kuna.
The protests spread north on Thursday, when 75 Moscow High School students staged a chaperoned overnight sleep-in as well as sidewalk protests. A student-led “Kill the Bill” event was set for today in Lewiston, and another student rally – the third this week for Boise – is set for noon Saturday on the Capitol steps in Boise.