Senate Hearing on PNA Cancelled; Moved to Monday

The Senate Education Committee was cancelled today and the hearing on SB 176, the bill that restricts bargaining to minimum salaries and ends mediation and fact-finding. This bill is opposed by KNEA, KASB, USA/KS and KSSA.

The four education organizations representing teachers, administrators, school boards, and superintendents have introduced their own bill that would amend the Professional Negotiations Act to make collective bargaining more effective, more efficient, and more focused. That bill, SB 136, had a hearing in the Senate Education Committee but has not been debated or voted on.

The hearing on the bad bill, SB 176, has been rescheduled for Monday afternoon, Feb. 23.

Please take the time to contact members of the Senate Education Committee and urge them to reject SB 176 and instead pass SB 136, that bill that everyone in the education community would like to see adopted.

You can contact the members of the Senate Education Committee on this issue by clicking on their names below:

Sen. Steve Abrams

Sen. Tom Arpke

Sen. Anthony Hensley

Sen. Vicki Schmidt

Sen. Dan Kerschen

Sen. Pat Pettey

Sen. Molly Baumgardner

Sen. Dennis Pyle

Sen. Jeff Melcher

Sen. Caryn Tyson

Sen. Steve Fitzgerald


House Committee Considers Three Bills

The House Education Committee today held hearings on three bills today.

First up was HB 2234 which would prohibit post-secondary employees (tech colleges, community colleges, and four-year universities) from using their titles when writing columns in newspapers. Two representatives testified in favor of the bill while KNEA testified in opposition.

The legislators did not like the fact that professors were writing columns critical of legislators and the legislature. The bill would stop professors from using titles when writing opinion pieces that are about candidates, legislators, or issues before the legislature. Speculation under the dome is that the bill is targeted to a group of professors writing as a group under the name “Insight Kansas.”

KNEA argued that the bill was a “slippery slope.” It might start with professors but would there be a desire later to prohibit superintendents from writing editorials critical of the impact of the Governor’s K-12 allotments? What about legislators writing opinion piece in support of his/her position on a tax bill?

Further, the Board of Regents already has a policy in place to protect their integrity and it is up to the Board and the individual institutions to enforce it.

Also up today was HB 2174 which makes technical amendments to the tuition tax credit bill and HB 2203 which encourages school districts to consolidate administrative services. There are many concerns about how HB 2203 would work and whether or not in might ultimately force some administrative consolidation.

No action was taken on any of the bills today.