Bad PNA Bill Voted Down in Senate!

Mar 25, 2015 by

Senate votes down Melcher PNA bill

Video Update:

Yesterday we reported that the Senate had approved an amendment by Sen. Jeff Melcher that changed the PNA bill agreed to by KNEA, KASB, USA/KS, and KSSA into a bill that all opposed. The Melcher amendment would have allowed the negotiation of only minimum salaries and prohibited the negotiation of any fair dismissal or due process procedures in non-renewals. Additionally the amendment ended the continuing contract law and fact-finding as part of the negotiation process.

The Senate had earlier pass a PNA bill agreed to by educators on a unanimous vote but yesterday, 20 of those senators reversed course in voting for the Melcher amendment.

The bill – now in HB 2326 – was up for a final action vote on the floor of the Senate this morning. A preliminary count on the vote showed the bill with only 18 votes – three short of the required 21 for passage. A call of the House was put on to force some who had passed to vote.

As those votes were cast, the vote turned to 19 ayes and 21 nos. With the bill losing, other Senators then changed their vote and the bill was defeated on a vote of 13 to 27.

At this point, the bill is considered killed although there is the possibility that someone might try a motion to reconsider the bill. We will be watching for this the rest of today and on Monday.

Voting NO on the bill were:

Bowers, Denning, Donovan, Faust-Goudeau, Fitzgerald, Francisco, Haley, Hawk, Hensley, Holland, Holmes, Kelly, Kerschen, King, LaTurner, Longbine, Love, McGinn, O’Donnell, Ostmeyer, Petersen, Pettey, Schmidt, Smith, Wagle, Wilborn, and Wolf

Voting YES were:

Abrams, Arpke, Baumgardner, Bruce, Knox, Lynn, Masterson, Melcher, Olson, Pilcher-Cook, Powell, Pyle, and Tyson

Senate Ed Committee Finishes Hearing on Abrams Finance Bill

The Senate Education Committee met over lunch again today to finish the hearing on SB 294, Senator Abrams’ pilot school finance proposal.

Testifying today were Chris Brown of the Tea Party’s Kansans for Liberty, Mark Tallman of KASB, Mark Desetti of KNEA, and Cheryl Semmel of USA/KS. All testified as neutral suggesting that the bill had some interesting ideas but also raised concerns.

KNEA specifically mentioned concerns about the proposed Success Incentive funds. While the plan is to reward school districts whose graduates move into higher education or the workplace in the 24 months following graduation, there is no way currently to gather the data required for making all of these decisions. Additionally, they don’t account for those who choose to take low-wage jobs after graduation to save money for college. The plan will also likely raise very serious concerns for those who already have problems with the sharing of individual student data.

Since the bill is double-referred to both Education and Ways and Means it must be approved by both committees in order to be sent to the floor. It is awfully late in the session for such major legislation to be considered.

We’ll be tracking this bill over the next week.

Legislature to be out until next week

Today is second turn around, the day by which bills must have been voted on by the second chamber in order to go on. Bills that don’t get through the second chamber and are not in an exempt committee will die tonight.

Of course, as all of us learned last April, no bad idea ever dies. Please remain connected and vigilant through the last Legislative day sometime in May!



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Senate reverses on PNA; sides with KPI, KCC instead of Educators

Mar 24, 2015 by

Melcher leads attack on teachers

Senator Jeff Melcher led the attack on teachers in the Senate today, convincing 19 others to abandon the bill the Senate earlier approved 40 to 0 and reflected the agreement among KNEA, KASB, KSSA, and USA/KS on improvements to the Professional Negotiations Act.

Melcher, who has focused his time in the Senate on stripping public employees of any rights they might enjoy in law, offered an amendment on a PNA bill today that does four things:

  • It ends fact-finding in the bargaining process,
  • It sunsets all current contract provisions on their next expiration date,
  • It bans the negotiation of salary provisions beyond “minimum salaries,” and
  • It prohibits districts and unions from negotiating due process provisions in their contracts.

In his summation on the Senate floor, Melcher told the body that teachers would appreciate this bill because it would free school districts to increase their salaries and set Kansas on the path to terminating 7 to 10% of all teachers. Melcher maintains that firing these teachers will put Kansas top in the world in education.

Voting with Melcher to gut collective bargaining for teachers were:

Abrams, Arpke, Baumgardner, Bruce, Denning, Donovan, Fitzgerald, Holmes, King, Knox, Lynn, Masterson, Olson, Pilcher-Cook, Powell, Pyle, Smith and Wilborn.

Voting to respect the education community’s agreement on professional negotiations were:

Bowers, Faust-Goudeau, Francisco, Haley, Hawk, Hensley, Holland, Kelly, Kerschen, LaTurner, Longbine, McGinn, Ostmeyer, Petersen, Pettey, Schmidt, Tyson, and Wolf.

Present but not voting were:

Love and O’Donnell

Coming to the floor this bill had the support of KNEA, KASB, KSSA, and USA/KS. With the Melcher amendment, all four organizations oppose the bill.

The bill will be subject to a final action vote sometime tomorrow.

It is critical that you contact your Senator TONIGHT by phone and email. Tell them that these attacks on teachers must stop. Vote NO on HB 2326.

Click here to access a Senate roster with office phone numbers and emails.

Debate on payroll deduction and PEERA bill halted

HB 2096 was taken up by the Senate today but after a vote on one amendment, the bill was pulled from debate and set aside on the calendar. It could come up later so keep watching.

As the bill was being debated, an amendment was offered by Sen. Garrett Love that would have stripped out the Baumgardner amendment. That amendment banned payroll deduction for any voluntary contributions – union dues, United Way, car payments to credit unions, etc. Baumgardner had argued if the state needed to get out of the business of helping others collect money, then it should be applied fairly and not only to unions.

The Love amendment failed on a vote of 13 to 19 with 7 Senators present and passing and one absent.

When the amendment failed, the bill was passed over. It could come back tomorrow.

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Collective Bargaining Comparison

Mar 2, 2015 by

Click the “Read More” link below to view a comparison of the two collective bargaining bills working their way through the legislature right now.


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Senate and House pass PNA bills that support educators

Feb 27, 2015 by

About 10:45 tonight, the full Senate passed SB 136, the PNA bill that came to the floor looking like the Dave Trabert “minority report” bill and was amended on a motion by Senator Tom Arpke (R-Salina) to look almost identical to HB 2326, the PNA bill crafted through consensus by KASB, KNEA, USA/KS, and KSSA. HB 2326 had passed earlier in the day by the House.

The vote in the House was 109 to 14. The bill in the Senate passed 40 to 0.

This action means that both chambers have passed PNA bills that are nearly identical and both representing the consensus of the four education organizations.

Our thanks go out to all the Senators who voted to support the Arpke amendment and the bill as amended. Special thanks also to Senators Arpke, Caryn Tyson, Molly Baumgardner, and Vicki Schmidt who worked with education lobbyists to craft the amendment and then carry it on the floor. Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley also spoke in support of the Arpke amendment on the floor, ensuring the support of the minority party.


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It’s Alchemy! Boldra amendment turns bad bill into good bill!

Feb 25, 2015 by

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).

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