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Under the Dome - February 8, 2013

Quiet day in the capitol

Let's use this time to see where we are!

Anti-teacher, anti-union bills

HB 2023/SB 31, keeping teachers and other public employees out of politics and advocacy. This so-called "paycheck protection" bill prohibits the use of any money collected via payroll deduction from being spent on "political activities" which is defined so vaguely and broadly that it likely goes way beyond campaigns (all our campaign involvement comes from KPAC) and includes any advocacy work KNEA or a local affiliate does on behalf of our members. Click here to read the truth about this bill.

HB 2023 has passed the House on a vote of 68-56 and is now awaiting action by the Senate Commerce Committee. SB 31 is in the Senate Commerce Committee and has not yet had a hearing.

HB 2085 is a bill designed to essentially eliminate collective bargaining for teachers. Under this bill, bargaining cannot be exclusively granted to a bargaining agent as is the case now. Now, teachers in a district vote to choose a bargaining agent (mostly KNEA) and school boards negotiate a contract with that bargaining agent that applies to all teachers. HB 2085 says the board must negotiate with any individual employee who wants to negotiate his/her own deal. The bill further makes all collective bargaining permissive. The school board could decide simply not to bargain with anyone and impose whatever they felt like imposing.

The bill has had a hearing in the House Commerce Committee but no action has yet been taken by the Committee.

HB 2123 would make mandatory collective bargaining laws and payroll deduction for association dues illegal. It applies to public sector unions only.

This bill is in the House Commerce Committee and has not yet had a hearing.

HB 2221 would remove exclusive use of school facilities from the professional negotiations act and require school boards to open functions to any and all groups offering professional development or liability insurance. This would create chaos for administrators who would be forced to open events such as convocation to a potentially unlimited number of groups. Also open to all groups would be bulletin boards and school mail services. Under current law, a school district must bargain exclusive use but is not required to grant it.

This bill is in the House Education Committee and has a hearing on Monday, Feb. 11.

School finance bills

HB 2261 makes permanent the flexibility to spend unencumbered balances in certain school district funds. It also requires that 65% of monies be spent on "instruction" but does not define what expenditures constitute "instruction."

HB 2261 has been assigned to the House Education Committee.

HB 2263 establishes a "school district special needs scholarship program" - a fancy way to say private school vouchers for special education students.

HB 2263 has been assigned to the House Education Committee.

HB 2264 lowers state support for capital improvement projects to 10% from the current 15% which was lowered from 25%. This pushes more of the cost of capital projects in property poor school districts on to local property taxes.

HB 2264 has been assigned to the House Education Committee.

HB 2265 requires 65% of monies to be expended on "instruction." It further provides that should the district not meet the 65% level, they would be required to "publish a copy of such information in the official newspaper of the school district and on the district's internet website." For a second violation, the district would lose the amount of funding not spent on "instruction" in the next school year.

HB 2265 has been assigned to the House Education Committee.

SB 103 would change the way at-risk funds are distributed. Currently at-risk funds are calculated on the number of students on free lunch, a measure of poverty. Under SB 103 free lunch would be used for students in grades K-3; for students in all other grades, at-risk funds would be based on scoring below proficient on state assessments.

SB 103 is in the Senate Education Committee and has a hearing on Tuesday, Feb. 12.

HB 2003 requires that the first 10% of the local option budget is counted as state general fund monies. This is an attempt to make courts accept more school funding as state funding even if that funding is from local sources.

HB 2003 is in the House Education Budget Committee and has a hearing on Thursday, Feb. 14.

HB 2005 would reduce bond issue weighting to 15% from 25%.

HB 2005 is in the House Education Committee.

Student bills

SB 44 allows for a private diagnosis of dyslexia from a physician, psychologist, or psychiatrist. With such a diagnosis, a school district would be required to provide remediation services and if services are not provided, the parent could seek outside help at the district's expense.

SB 44 had a hearing in the Senate Education Committee. No action has been taken on the bill.

HB 2045 would deny a driver's license to anyone under 20 years of age that does not have high school diploma or GED. School districts must report drop outs to the state. There are some exceptions in the bill.

HB 2045 is in the House Transportation Committee.

SB 105 is a dramatic expansion of current laws on bullying (this appears to be essentially the same as a bill crafted by Walt Chappell last year). The bill contains detailed definitions of bullying and specifies tight timelines for reporting, investigating, and notifying the public. It also provides for the loss of licenses under certain circumstances related to reporting of bullying.  

SB 105 is in the Senate Education Committee.

HB 2004 would mandate retention of any 3rd grade students not rated as proficient on the 3rd grade state reading assessment. There are some exceptions including a parent opt out provision.

HB 2004 is in the House Education Committee

Anti-KASB bills

SB 45 prohibits the use of state money for lobbying and would force school districts to ensure that KASB dues or the salaries of district lobbyists were paid from locally raised revenue

SB 45 had a hearing in the Senate Ethics, Elections, and Local Government Committee. No action has been taken on the bill yet.

SB 109 prohibits the use of all tax revenues for lobbying or membership dues to an association that lobbies. It further provides that such associations may talk to legislators at the request of the legislature or through "proper official channels."

SB 109 is in the Senate Ethics, Elections, and Local Government Committee. A hearing is scheduled for Monday, February 11.

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