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Under the Dome - January 30, 2013

House advances HB 2023; Final vote tomorrow

Bill would prohibit use of payroll deduction for any political activities

The House of Representatives today voted 66-54 to advance HB 2023 to a final action vote which will take place tomorrow. The vote was not a recorded vote so we are unable to list the YES votes and NO votes for you.

The hordes of angry teachers that Republicans were warned about failed to appear as all those teachers were too busy caring for and teaching the children and grandchildren of Kansas to come up mid-week and fight for their constitutional rights. Still, Republicans called in plenty of extra armed security and some followed their leadership's suggestion that they take off their name badges and avoid the capitol hallways.

The close vote (it requires 63 votes for a majority) was good but unfortunately not good enough. It is possible that some votes will change by tomorrow. We'll be watching this vote closely.

For those of you who haven't followed this (!), HB 2023 would prohibit KNEA from using any money collected via payroll deduction for political activities. The bill also defines political activities so broadly that almost anything that involves a vote might be considered a political activity. Additionally, it appears to go far beyond PAC activities and would likely prohibit KNEA from even advocating only to their members in internal communications.

It is always possible that legislators might change their votes overnight. There is one last chance for you to contact your legislator and ask him/her to stand up for your rights by voting NO on HB 2023.

Remember, your voice is not banned yet!

To find your Representative and send an email, click here.

To find your Representative's office phone number and leave a message, click here.

To sign a petition telling all Legislators and the Governor to respect the rights of teachers and other public employees, click here.

The War on Teachers is just beginning!

Don't forget that HB 2023 is just the first bill in the Legislature's attempt to give the Kansas Chamber of Commerce what they want. Remember back when the hearing was held on HB 2023? The Kansas Chamber had a lobbyist supporting the bill in Committee and telling legislators this was just about "accounting." But when pressed by a Committee member, he lost his cool and said what was in his heart: "I need you to pass this bill to get rid of public sector unions."

That's what the War on Teachers is about - getting rid of your voice, your ability to have a say in your working conditions, your salary, whether or not your school will have enough supplies, reasonable class sizes, new textbooks, or adequate custodial support.

Next up will be HB 2085 which effectively eliminates collective bargaining for teachers and then there is the so-called "Public Employee Freedom Act" which makes mandatory collective bargaining and payroll deduction of dues illegal.

It's going to be a long hard war but we're going to fight all the way. We're delighted that you joined us in a big way on the battle for your voice in politics. When this is done together we will fight the battle for your voice at the bargaining table.

Senate education introduces bills

The Senate Education Committee introduced three new bills today:

  • A resolution on bullying,
  • A constitution amendment stop the courts from resolving school finance lawsuits, and  
  • A change in the at-risk definition.

These are not written yet, but we can assume they will be much like prior such proposals.

The bullying resolution will likely call upon schools, the State Board of Education, and school districts to create more effective programs to counter bullying in our schools.

The constitutional amendment will direct that only the legislature can determine suitable school funding levels.

The at-risk change will probably change distribution of at-risk funds from free lunch eligibility to some more absolute definition such as proficiency on state assessments or classroom achievement.

We'll be watching for each bill to appear in written form.

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