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Under the Dome - March 8, 2013

House passes "innovative district" bill on final action

We reported last night that the Senate had passed their version of the "innovative district" bill (SB 176) and that the House, after defeating the Winn amendment to protect teachers' professional rights, advanced their version (HB 2319) to final action.

The final action vote took place this morning and the bill was passed on a vote of 74 to 47. KNEA opposed the bill because it allows ten school districts to strip teachers of collective bargaining, due process, and continuing contract rights for no particular reason. Commissioner DeBacker pointed out to the House committee that there was nothing in state laws, rules, or regulations blocking school districts from innovating right now. There was no need for the bill. What school districts complain about - and did so in the hearing as well - are federal laws, rules, and regulations, none of which may be waived or opted out of.

The vote on the bill was as follows:

Yeas: Alford, Barker, Bideau, Boldra, Bradford, Bruchman, Brunk, Couture-Lovelady, Carlson, Carpenter, Cassidy, Claeys, Concannon, Corbet, Crum, DeGraaf, Dove, Edwards, Esau, Ewy, Finch, Gandhi, Garber, Goico, Grosserode, Hawkins, Hedke, Highland, Hildabrand, Hoffman, Houser, Howell, Huebert, Hutton, Jennings, Johnson, Jones, Kahrs, Kelley, Kelly, Kinzer, Kleeb, Lunn, Macheers, Mast, McPherson, Meigs, Merrick, Montgomery, O'Brien, Osterman, Peck, Petty, Phillips, J. Powell, Proehl, Read, Rhoades, Rothlisberg, Rubin, Ryckman Jr., Ryckman Sr., Schroeder, Schwab, Schwartz, Seiwert, Siegfreid, Suellentrop, Sutton, Thimesch, Todd, Vickrey, Waymaster, Weber.

Nays: Alcala, Ballard, Becker, Bollier, Bridges, Burroughs, Campbell, Carlin, Christmann, Clayton, Davis, Dierks, Dillmore, Doll, Finney, Frownfelter, Gonzalez, Grant, Henderson, Henry, Hibbard, Hill, Hineman, Kuether, Lane, Lusk, Meier, Menghini, Moxley, Pauls, Perry, Peterson, Rooker, Ruiz, Sawyer, Sloan, Sloop, Swanson, Tietze, Trimmer, Victors, Ward, Weigel, Whipple, Wilson, Winn, Wolfe Moore.

Absent or not voting: Edmonds, Hermanson, Houston, Shultz.

32 Democrats were joined by 15 Republicans in voting no. Republicans voting No are indicated in bold in the above list. One Democrat, Roderick Houston, was absent.

Hearing on anti-collective bargaining bill continues

The House Commerce Committee continued the hearing today on Sub for HB 2027, the bill dismantling collective bargaining rights for teachers.

Proponents had spoken on Wednesday and today was to be reserved for the opponents. KNEA President Karen Godfrey was the first opponent followed by KNEA UniServ Director Tony White, AFT Attorney Rebecca Proctor and Matt Hall of the Teamsters.

The only openly hostile legislator was Rep. Allan Rothlisberg (R-Grandview Plaza) who suggested that unions were just monopolies and asserting to Godfrey that 30% of Kansas students were unable to read on grade level. Chairman Kleeb directed Rep. Rothlisberg to keep his comments and questions to issues in the bill before the committee.

In a very unusual move, Chairman Kleeb invited the proponents back up and lobbed softball questions their way. Asking KASB attorney David Shriver if any school boards had expressed opposition to the KASB position, Shriver answered that none had. This, of course, ignores the actions taken by the Lawrence and Emporia School Boards voting to oppose changes to collective bargaining.

The bill was not worked today. We'll be watching the committee for possible action next week.

In the meantime,

Continue to email and phone your legislators. Tell them to protect the voice of teachers. Collective bargaining assures that teachers will be listened to - it doesn't let them run the schools. If the KASB and KSSA really do believe in the importance of collaboration - they keep saying they do - then why do they want to give blanket statutory permission to themselves to ignore collaboration every time it might seem inconvenient?

Click here to access KNEA's "contact your legislator" web portal.

Click her for a roster of representatives with office phone numbers.

And go to your community legislative forums this weekend to ask legislators to support the voice of Kansas teachers by voting NO on HB 2027 or any other bill to limit collective bargaining.

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