Tuesday, March 26, 2019

IASB Legislative Alert 101-02

The Senate last week met its deadline to move Senate bills out of committee, and the House will meet its deadline this Friday. However, the deadlines are providing little clarity as to the issues that will be moving forward this legislative session due to the number of bills approved by committees. Ideally, the committee process is designed to be the first step in explaining legislation and making corrections to legislation before it moves forward. The recent trend, however, is a committee process where bills are called, acknowledged to be flawed, and then approved by the committee and moved to the respective House or Senate floor with an agreement to work out issues and then return to committee to consider the revised bill. This process leaves a significant amount of work for advocates to attempt to modify and improve legislation before final votes on the chamber floor.

As reported in the last IASB Legislative Alert, several key issues are being considered by the General Assembly. Details about the following bills can be found in the last IASB Legislative Alert.

SB 28 is still pending on the Senate floor and is postured to be called for a vote at any time. The Senate will be spending a considerable amount of time on the Senate floor this week considering bills that have been approved by committees. Approval of SB 28 by the Senate would send the bill to the House of Representatives for consideration.

An amendment was added to the bill by the Senate Education Committee two weeks ago which did add some limited flexibility in a couple of specific areas. However, if enacted as is, it still pales in comparison to the current flexibility that local school districts enjoy in establishing school programs that cater to needs of students who do not flourish in traditional classes, programs, and time frames.

Therefore, IASB still opposes the legislation.

SB 10 and HB 2078 would increase the minimum teacher salary to $40,000 per year. SB 10, as it has for most of the month, is awaiting a final Senate vote on the chamber floor. It could be called for a vote at any time. HB 2078 was moved to 3rd Reading in the House, which means that it is one vote away from being sent over to the Senate.

Though there has been discussions behind the scenes about revising the bill, no amendments have been filed at this time. The IASB opposes the bills.

SB 1189 and HB 2234 would add stringent, new requirements for school district P.E. programs. SB 1189 was approved by the Senate Education Committee last week and is pending on the Senate floor. HB 2234 is scheduled for a hearing tomorrow morning in the House Elementary and Secondary - School Curriculum and Policies Committee.

School board members are urged to complete a committee witness slip to register opposition to the bill. Even if you have filed a slip before, to be registered for this week another witness slip must be filed. Mark "Oppose" and "Record of Appearance Only" on the slip.

SB 1838 and HB 3053 address forced school district consolidation. Each bill has been approved by committees and are pending on the floor of their respective chamber. IASB has been working with the bill sponsors to amend the bills to remove the arbitrary forced consolidation provisions. The bills also call for a task force to study the issue of school reorganization, shared services, and consolidation.

Click here to read the full IASB Legislative Alert from March 26, including legislation supported by IASB and other legislation of note.