Senate races to reform PERS while House crawls along
Tuesday, May 28, 2019
With just five weeks left in the 80th Legislative Assembly, House floor sessions continue to trudge along.
Every bill before the House chamber must be read in its entirety because the Republicans are still denying a rules suspension. Representatives must spend long hours on the floor. This tactic severely hampers the process, creating delays and a growing backlog of bills waiting for a vote.
Friday marked the deadline for bills to receive a policy committee work session to remain alive. House bills still waiting to move to the Senate will need a different path forward now. Those bills will need to be referred to a committee that doesn’t have any deadlines, such as Rules, Ways and Means, revenue and some joint committees. It has become harder for a bill to make it through before the Legislature must constitutionally close June 30.
In a surprise move late last week, the Senate brought forward Senate Bill 1049, the Public Employees Retirement System bill. The chamber fast-tracked it, using a Special Order of Business.
A lengthy and passionate debate ensued. Several legislators called it a difficult vote, as they weighed public employees’ needs versus the PERS debt drain on agency resources for services. SB 1049 passed with a mix of Democrat and Republican votes. The bill is headed to the House.
Frustratingly, House Bill 2016A has been voted out of the Senate Workforce Committee and is headed to the Senate floor. This collective bargaining bill would make changes to the Public Employee Collective Bargaining Act. The bill is a response to the Janus Supreme Court decision last year related to fair share and public employees paying dues. It is unclear how this bill will impact school district negotiations and operations.
If you have not done so, please take time to thank your legislators for their yes votes on HB 3427, the Student Success Act. This bill will fundamentally change the direction schools are heading. This epic investment will transform the lives of our students if it is not derailed by a ballot referral. The Student Success Act will help public schools provide an education that gives all students the opportunity to succeed.