Over Senate objections, House hijacks controversial teacher pay bill
The House Education Committee passed SB 10 (7-4) by a party-line vote Monday morning, moving this harmful language forward to the full House without amendment. The vote came despite Senate leadership vowing to kill SB 10, its partner bill HB 1004, and any other bill which contained language similar to HB 1004.
Senate President Pro Tempore David Long (R – Fort Wayne) announced Friday the Senate would not go forward with HB 1004, which was similar to SB 10 in offering bonus pay to select teachers, at the expense of other teachers’ salaries. Senate Education Committee Chair, Sen. Dennis Kruse (R – Auburn) reiterated that stand over the weekend.
While it’s bad enough that SB 10 removes key salary and wage issues from collective bargaining – worse, it allows those decisions to be made behind closed doors in executive session. Proponents defend this outrageous policy by stating that this is “just voluntary.” Making bad public policy voluntary does not change the fact that it is bad public policy.
A majority of the opposition testimony in committee centered on the negative effect on the school environment and that the broad definition of offering bonus deals to teachers “as needed” could be done in executive session with no public oversight.
Superintendent Jim Snapp (Brownsburg) opposed SB 10 by offering a litany of logistic and legal questions related to bargaining, negotiating with individual teachers, and issues arising with the local school board – all consequences of SB 10’s authorizations.
Rep. Terri Austin (D – Anderson) was the only committee member to offer an amendment. Her amendment would have returned bargaining these issues locally, but even more, would have prevented closed-door deals.
Earlier this session, House Education Committee members Reps. Behning (R – Indianapolis), Thompson (R – Lizton) and Cook (R – Cicero), publicly pledged to amend the language concerning these closed door deals then in HB 1004, that is currently in SB 10.
Today, most were surprised that Chairman Behning offered no amendment to fulfill the pledge he made to his colleagues from the House floor just a few weeks ago.
Not coincidentally, should SB 10 pass the floor of the House with no amendments, it will go directly to Gov. Pence for his signature—which is exactly what the proponents of this short-sighted measure want—to enact this bill on a “technicality.”
Please continue to weigh in and share your opposition with your House member today.