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Under the Dome - March 13, 2013

Gun debates go on long; other meetings delayed

The House had a long debate today on three gun bills that resulted in other meetings being pushed back or cancelled.

The House Education Committee was planning to continue their discussion on whether or not the common core standards should be banned in Kansas and possibly continue debate on HB 2320, the charter school bill.

Both were put off. The Committee met briefly after the floor debate concluded but had to surrender their meeting room to another regularly scheduled committee. The decision was made to continue the debate on HB 2320 tomorrow morning at 7:30 am. At their normal 1:30 meeting time tomorrow they will be entertained by the Kansas Policy Institute which will tell the committee why they believe Kansas schools are failing our students (even though their own allies say that Kansas schools are the 7th best state system in the nation in student achievement). KPI seeks to dismantle and privatize public education. They also argue to strip teachers of rights and to dismantle the Kansas Public Employee Retirement System.

The common core discussion is put off indefinitely.

Senate Education takes up so-called "access" bill

The Senate Education Committee had their regularly scheduled meeting at which they held a hearing on the HB 2221, the bill sought by anti-union zealots and coincidentally KPI!

Under the professional negotiations act, a school board and bargaining agent are allowed to negotiate exclusive access to employee emails, mailboxes, and district facilities. Organizations that are not seeking bargaining rights or to decertify the bargaining agent but sell insurance or professional development may have access at the district's discretion.

A group that has actively sought bargaining status in Kansas would like to be granted access to employees anywhere a certified bargaining agent like KNEA or AFT has access. Since the Kansas Supreme Court had determined that this particular group is a "Professional Employee Organization" under the law (one that seeks bargaining rights), they are currently excluded from access. While they claim to only want to sell insurance and professional development, their actions indicate otherwise. This bill would grant easier access to employees in order to de-certify bargaining agents and move an anti-collective bargaining agenda.

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