With spring’s arrival, new crop of legislative education priorities bloom
Monday, March 25, 2019
Oregon schools are on spring break this week, but the Legislature won’t be taking a break.
Last week, there was a lot of activity in the Capitol building with House Bill 2016, the collective bargaining bill that, if successful, would make managing school districts more of a challenge. The bill is expected to receive a House floor vote this week.
Thanks to all who stepped up to testify in support of HB 3075. A special shout out to the Lake County superintendents who drove to Salem to testify. I would call this bill a cost containment bill. If successful, the bill would keep the current practices for negotiating health care with your unions as you have been doing. If the bill does not pass, school districts would be unable to negotiate an opt-out with employees who are double covered with a spouse. This is an important bill for so many small schools to retain staff who rely on this provision.
The Joint Ways and Means Committee roadshow wrapped up last week with a good turnout in the Portland area. Thanks to those of you who stepped up and came out to testify, reinforcing the need for the Legislature to make an investment in education funding.
Workplace harassment and sexual conduct bills are scheduled for work sessions this week in the Senate Workforce Committee. I still have concerns about the workplace harassment bill, SB 726, because it would extend the statute of limitations. It would be extremely difficult to defend if former employees had up to seven years to file a complaint. We continue to encourage a workplace free from harassment and would promote communication with staff to ensure any complaint is dealt with immediately.
Less than a week to go before a key deadline, but who’s counting? … Well, I am. Bills in a policy committee must be scheduled for a work session by March 29, and the work session must take place by April 9. After the deadline, the world of bills we are tracking will be reduced, allowing us more time to lobby rather than running around with our hair on fire trying to track so many bills getting hearings.
Advocacy reminder: Your legislators continue to hold town halls and coffees in districts. OSBA sends out announcements about events to the Legislative Policy Committee members to push out to the region.We encourage you to attend these events and continue to talk about the need for an investment in education funding. The information is also located on our website.
OSBA Legislative Services director