House guts HB 2326! Moves educators’ PNA bill!
The House of Representatives today had HB 2326 on the debate calendar. This is the collective bargaining bill adopted by the House Commerce Committee that would have ended collective bargaining as we know it and replaced it with negotiations conducted with teachers in groups or as individuals. The bill would have created chaos in the HR departments of school districts. It was opposed by KASB, KNEA, USA/KS, and KSSA.
When the bill came up for debate today, Rep. Sue Boldra (R-Hays) moved an amendment that gutted the contents of HB 2326 and replaced it with the contents of HB 2257, the bill that contains the consensus agreement by the education groups on changes to the Professional Negotiations Act.
After a long debate on the Boldra amendment, it was adopted on a vote of 67 to 52. This means that HB 2326 – a bill we opposed – is now a bill we support!
The debate revealed strong bipartisan support for educators as both Republicans and Democrats came to the well to support the consensus agreement. Speaking up for the education community in addition to Boldra were Ed Trimmer (D-Winfield), Diana Dierks (R-Salina), Annie Tietze (D-Topeka), John Doll (R-Garden City), Valdenia Winn (D-Kansas City), Chuck Smith (R-Pittsburg), Louis Ruiz (D-Kansas City), and Melissa Rooker (R-Fairway).
The bill has one more hurdle to pass. It will face a final action vote tomorrow. We imagine that those who don’t want the consensus bill to pass will be twisting arms tonight in the hope of changing the outcome tomorrow.
It is critically important that tonight, supporters of public schools and public school educators contact their Representatives, thank them for adopting the Boldra amendment and urging them to vote YES on HB 2326 as amended on final action.Click here to send a message NOW!
Senate passes bill that would censor teaching materials
The full Senate this afternoon passed SB 56, a bill that removes the “affirmative defense” for K-12 teachers in Kansas, on final action. The vote was 26 – 14.
This bill would permit teachers to be hauled before a grand jury if a parent complains that materials used in class are inappropriate. The teacher could not use as a defense that the material was part of the adopted curriculum and had educational merit. If this bill becomes law, schools and teachers would very likely self-censor their lessons and materials, blocking from use anything that some individual parent might find offensive. Art history teachers, for example, will think twice about displaying the Statue of David or other works of art that display nudity.
It’s not that the teacher would necessarily be convicted of a crime but simply that schools would have to deal with expensive legal procedures every time a parent had an objection to some material used in class.
KNEA opposed the bill. Voting NO were Senators Bowers (R-Concordia), Faust-Goudeau (D-Wichita), Francisco (D-Lawrence), Haley (D-Kansas City), Hawk (D-Manhattan), Hensley (D-Topeka), Holland (D-Baldwin City), Longbine (R-Emporia), McGinn (R-Sedgwick), O’Donnell (R-Wichita), Pettey (D-Kansas City), Schmidt (R-Topeka), and Wolf (R-Prairie Village).