Legislative Update – The Week in Review
By Otto Fajen, MNEA Legislative Director
Number 12 – March 29, 2012
ANTI-WORKER AMENDMENTS ADDED TO STATE BOARD INTERVENTION BILL
The Senate Education Committee approved an SCS version of HCS/HB 1174 (Mike Lair) on March 28. Sen. Jane Cunningham offered four amendments to the bill. An amendment responding to prior actions by DESE regarding school accreditation and pupil transfer was defeated by a 4-4 tie on a roll call vote. An amendment to maintain existing language, deleted by HB 1174, calling for an unaccredited district to create a plan to submit to the voters for dividing the district territory if the district can not regain accreditation within three years was also defeated by a 4-4 tie.
However, the committee adopted two anti-worker amendments offered by Sen. Cunningham by voice vote. The first would prevent a district from compensating a school employee on release as an employee union officer unless the employee works full-time for the district. The second amendment apparently purports to prohibit a Special Administrative Board from bargaining a contract with an employee union. Both amendments are unneeded attacks on public employee unions and potentially in conflict with the constitutional right of all Missouri employees to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing. Missouri NEA strongly opposes both amendments and will seek to have them removed from the bill as it continues through the process.
While the Association strongly opposes the amendments added in committee, MNEA supports the original bill. The House version of HB 1174 revises the timelines and options for State Board intervention when it classifies a district as unaccredited. The bill allows the State Board to consider possible changes in governance when classifying a district as unaccredited, rather than waiting two years and automatically lapsing the district. The bill also incorporates language to require that the State Board hold a hearing in the unaccredited district to help bring community resources and stakeholders together in support of a district improvement plan.
TENURE REPEAL BILL
The Senate did not debate SB 806 (Jane Cunningham) on March 27 when the bill was brought up in order on the calendar. The bill was placed on the Informal Calendar, but could be taken up for debate later this session. Stay tuned for a possible action alert concerning the bill later this session.