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Week 3 in the 2023 Legislative Session

Next week, the House Education Committee will consider three particularly important bills:

HB 21 (Stagni) Would allow school boards to offer school support staff who have infants that are critically ill or who are expectant mothers and have no remaining extended sick leave to take up to 30 additional days of extended sick leave for maternal and child health. This extended sick leave is already available to teachers, but this bill would ensure all school employees have the same access to extended maternal health leave to care for their families.

✅ HB 205 (Bryant) Would require teachers to receive extra compensation when they work outside their job description. Teachers would be paid an hourly rate when participating in after-school activities involving students.

✅ HB 348 (Jenkins) Changes the reporting requirements so that immediate action is taken to protect staff and students when there is a credible and imminent threat to an educator or student. The passage of this bill would help ensure that staff, students, and parents are notified of serious threats and that all credible threats are appropriately investigated.

Use this form to send an email to the committee, or click here.

Next week, we will see the Legislature begin to make changes to the existing budget bill. The governor has outlined his priorities, and the Legislative committees have heard public testimony on a litany of issues. Over the next few weeks, they will change the budget many times. LFT will continue our push for raises for teachers and school employees, but some legislators are pushing back. They need to hear from you! Tell your legislators why raises for teachers and school employees are so important!

Have you sent an email to the legislature? If not, click here!

This week was filled with a lot of debate on controversial bills. LFT opposed bills that seek to divert funding away from teachers, school employees, and their students, or undermine our profession. As always, we are working with all legislators who want to support the teachers and school employees who serve students every day.

❌ SB 81 (McMath) creates an "associate educator program," which allows people with an associate's degree to become teachers. Not subs, not trainees, but classroom Teachers-of-Record. We all want to see an end to the staffing shortage, but degrading the teaching profession and getting anyone off the street will not improve educational outcomes for students. In fact, this bill does the exact opposite: it will make teachers feel further disrespected and degraded, which is one of the top reasons people leave the profession (after compensation). Without teachers, no other profession can exist. We should treat our dedicated educators like the skilled professionals they are, not diminish the profession. Experienced certified teachers are key to our student’s success.

❌ SB 177 (McMath) would supersede local authority and create an unfunded mandate for local school districts by requiring that they continue tutoring programs funded through COVID relief funding. Because districts aren't getting funding for this program, the burden will likely fall on teachers to do this, on top of their existing workload.

✅ HB 402 (Edmonds) would increase the financial transparency requirements for School Boards. In principle, ensuring that public boards entrusted with public funds be completely transparent about their expenditures is essential. We are watching this bill closely. It's important the requirements don't create a financial hardship on school boards that are already struggling, but some districts would benefit from greater transparency requirements.

✅ HB 86 (Hodges) "Protect Teachers Act" was created to ensure that teachers who physically intervene in a fight at school couldn't face criminal charges as a result of their well-intentioned actions. The original language of the bill had some issues. This week, we have worked to amend the bill so that teachers and staff wouldn't fall victim to unintended consequences. We are working with Rep. Hodges to iron out all the details.

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