What it does: Senate Bill 1008, as written, is a complex and comprehensive plan for a clean diesel program first outlined in SB 824 from 2015. That bill ended up creating a task force to look at how to reduce diesel emissions in Oregon. Those recommendations are contained in the original SB 1008, which includes a plan for using Oregon’s expected Volkswagen settlement money to target reducing diesel emissions.
What’s new: The bill was heard in early March with much opposition from industries that use diesel trucks and machinery. School buses would fall into this category. An amendment was drafted that would narrow the original plan and prioritize school buses with certain criteria for replacement with a portion of the Volkswagen settlement. The Oregon Department of Education estimates approximately 450 school buses statewide would need to be replaced.
What’s next: The bill was amended and moved to the Senate Rules Committee for further discussion. OSBA was involved in the task force and supports the amended bill.
What it does: The bill would require high school students in Oregon to correctly answer, by a score of 60 percent or greater, a number of questions on the naturalization test required for U.S. citizenship to earn a diploma.
What’s new: The Senate Education Committee heard the bill April 11. The chief sponsor of the measure, Sen. Chuck Riley (D-Hillsboro), testified in favor of the bill based on his desire to see students have greater access to civics education. The Confederation of Oregon School Administrators and OSBA testified against the measure, citing concerns such as the potential negative impact on students, new mandates, and the general feeling that this could be perceived as a punitive law with no real benefit.
What’s next: Tuesday was the first chamber deadline in the Legislature, meaning that all Senate bills had to be moved out of their Senate policy committees. SB 1038 remains in the Senate Education Committee, and so is effectively dead.
Teacher license grace period House Bill 205-A
What it does: Teachers must be licensed by the Teacher Standards and Practices Commission before teaching in a classroom. Historically, the commission has taken as long as six months to issue licenses for new teachers. Teachers who have graduated from a teaching program in May or June are often expected to report to work in August, and commonly they are not yet licensed at that time. HB 205-A would give a 90-day grace period for new teachers to begin teaching in the classroom. These teachers would still have to pass the standard background check and have applied for a license with the commission, but they would not be required to have been issued a license before teaching for the first 90 days.
What’s new: The bill passed the Senate 27-0. The House Committee on Education heard the bill Wednesday. Sen. Arnie Roblan (D-Coos Bay), chair of the Senate Education Committee, testified in favor of the bill, saying that it was a practical solution that would help schools address a recurring staffing problem. “Almost every school district finds itself in this situation,” he said. “As a principal I had to deal with it more than a few times, and it is exceedingly frustrating.”
What’s next: OSBA supports the bill and will continue to monitor it.