Statehouse roundup, 3.6.13

Open negotiations: The House Education Committee have endorsed a plan that would again require holding contract negotiations in public.

Committee members voted unanimously Wednesday to send Senate Bill 1098 to the House floor with a recommendation it pass.

So far, this bill has moved easily through the Legislature. The Senate voted 34-0 to approve it March 1.

The Idaho Education Association bill represents another effort to restore elements of the Students Come First laws voters repealed in November.

Penni Cyr
Penni Cyr, Idaho Education Association

Teachers union members worked with the Idaho Association of School Administrators and the Idaho School Boards Association to develop consensus, IEA President Penni Cyr said.

“Our members were completely happy to have open meeting,” Cyr said. “They felt it added to the professionalism of the discussion.”

A vote on the House floor is the last remaining hurdle for SB 1098 before it would go to Gov. Butch Otter’s desk.

College scholarships: A $5.9 million college scholarship makeover hit some resistance on the House floor, but it’s headed to Otter’s desk nonetheless. Senate Bill 1027 would eliminate some scholarships and move the money into an expanded Opportunity Scholarship, which could provide up to $2,000 a year to 3,000 or 4,000 students at a given time. The bill, which passed the Senate without objection, passed the House, 43-24.

Group homes: The Senate passed Senate Bill 1097, which would bill group homes for the cost of educating troubled students brought in from other states. After the 34-0 vote, the bill now goes to the House.

IDLA, kindergarten visits: House Education also approved  Senate Bill 1091 — which creates a funding formula for the Idaho Digital Learning Academy and tweaks the “8 in 6” program — and Senate Bill 1057, which allows kindergarten teachers to visit parents at their homes.

University purchasing: House Education introduced a bill carried by House Speaker Scott Bedke, R-Oakley, designed to eliminate redundancies in rules and code, and grant purchasing flexibility to colleges and universities. The bill is likely to get a full committee hearing.

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