While Legislature works through bill backlog, Student Success Committee drives on
Monday, April 22, 2019
The April 9 committee deadline created a bottleneck of bills waiting for votes in the Legislature’s chambers. The combination of paperwork and the sheer number of bills has made “hurry up and wait” the theme of recent weeks.
To unclog the system, the House has canceled some committee meetings and added floor sessions.
The Joint Committee on Student Success, however, has plunged on. It had two public hearings on House Bill 3427, the new bill that has become the vehicle for the education investment plan and revenue plan.
The April 16 hearing was focused mainly on walking through the tax plan. After some confusion about whether public testimony would be allowed, a few business leaders attending the hearing stepped forward to deliver concerns with the tax plan.
The committee took public testimony again April 18. This time some business leaders, including from the Coalition for the Common Good, spoke in favor of the proposed business tax for education. The bill's proposals have received wide public support, and the most frequent criticism has been that it doesn’t do more, particularly for higher education.
The committee members’ comments during this hearing suggest to me that the committee’s co-chairs are being pressured to slow the process. Committee members were struggling to keep up with changes to HB 3427, and there have been some posting errors.
Currently, a vote on HB 3427 is expected Thursday, April 25.
HB 2016, the post-Janus bill, was heard again April 18, this time in the Senate Workforce Committee. This bill would expand the rights of public sector employees and unions in a variety of ways and put into statute items that we bargain over now. The bill touches on eave time, designated representative status, email use and personal information, and how schools interact with private-sector corporations.
OSBA is strongly opposed, and the frustrating piece of this bill is the lack of acknowledgment that this one-size-fits-all approach is not workable. This bill would cause disturbances in the local district–union relationships, and HB 2016 would create challenges for school district administrators to efficiently run their schools.
Before the bill was heard, we formally met with unions to discuss our concerns. Sadly, that first meeting did not produce much consideration. We have delivered section-by-section amendments with our concerns, but we have not heard back from them yet.
Call to Action: Please pay attention to the campaign texts and emails you are receiving. We are close to a vote on HB 3427, and we need all supporters to contact their legislators, asking for passage of the Student Success Act.
Various ways to contact your legislator can be found on OSBA’s Revenue Reform page.