The Senate has taken up the first of the “trailer” bills, or follow-up bills, to the school reform bills this year; the first one, HB 335, amends the teacher contract bill, SB 1108, making various changes and adding an emergency clause; it drew lots of questions, then passed on a 21-14 vote. Sen. Dean Cameron, R-Rupert, questioned some of the details in the bill, and Sen. Edgar Malepeai, D-Pocatello, raised concerns. Sen. Nicole LeFavour, D-Boise, noted that the emergency clause in the measure is contradicted by various other clauses that say portions of the bill wouldn't take effect immediately; she said it's just there to “thwart a democratic process.”
Sen. John Goedde, R-Coeur d'Alene, the bill's sponsor, said, “Certainly the insertion of the emergency clause does not abrogate the rights of the voters in the referendum process.” If a referendum to overturn the school reforms qualifies for the ballot, he said, “They're going to have an opportunity to vote in November 2012 whether they like what we've done or not.” He said “in the meantime … we can move forward.” Without the emergency clause, if a referendum qualified for the 2012 ballot, it would have prevented the law from taking effect until after the election.
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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