Wednesday, May 29, 2019

IASB Legislative Alert 101-07

LATEST DEVELOPMENTS IN CAPITOL
As the legislature works through the final week before the scheduled adjournment, significant issues are being considered in both the Senate and House of Representatives. On Monday, the House approved SJRCA 1 which proposes to amend the State Constitution to allow for graduated income tax rates. The question will now go to the voters at the November 2020 election.

The accompanying bill (SB 687) that contains the new income tax rates has yet to be called for a vote on the House floor. It seems that another bill in the Senate tax package, SB 690, has stalled in the House for now. SB 690 would place all school districts under the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law (PTELL). The House, however, put its spin on the property tax relief issue by amending two bills. SB 39 would establish a property tax relief fund in the State treasury to be used to issue property tax rebates to taxpayers. It would not affect or expand PTELL. SB 1932 would establish the Property Tax Relief Task Force that will make recommendations for short-term and long-term property tax relief for homeowners. Its report will be due 90 days after the law is enacted. Both bills are pending on the House floor.

Leadership, sponsors, and stakeholders continue to meet to find agreeable language for bills on expanded gaming, legalization of recreational marijuana, and a capital projects package. Hot button issues such as firearm ownership and abortion rights are being considered this week as well.

FAFSA BILL CLEARS SENATE
HB 2719, which would require each high school student to complete the Federal Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as a prerequisite to receive a graduation diploma, was approved by the Senate Tuesday. The bill was sent to the House for consideration.

IASB opposes the bill. Details can be found here.

School board members are urged to contact their State Representatives and ask them to vote "No" on HB 2719. IASB drafted an amendment that was given to the sponsor and proponents in the Senate, but it was not considered. The bill has yet to be assigned to a House committee for a hearing, but it can happen with just a one hour posting notice. Once the bill is scheduled for a House committee hearing, school board members are urged to file a witness slip in opposition to the bill.

YET ANOTHER VERSION OF SCHOOL CONSOLIDATION BILL
The Senate sponsor of the School District Efficiency Commission legislation, HB 3053, filed another amendment to the bill this week. The bill, as introduced, calls for the Commission to establish its criteria for why schools should consolidate and arbitrarily reduce the number of school districts by 25%. The amendment makes very slight changes to the original bill and the IASB is still strongly opposed. It would not allow the Commission to recommend the consolidation of "individual schools", but still requires the Commission to reduce the number of school districts by 25% by establishing criteria defining school districts and requiring referenda to be placed on the ballot around the State.
The amendment was assigned to a sub-committee and was not called for a vote.