The Senate Education Committee has approved SB 1199 with just one dissenting vote, from Sen. Branden Durst, D-Boise. Sen. Russ Fulcher, R-Meridian, moved to send the bill to the full Senate with a recommendation that it pass. “It’s not exactly what I would have scripted, but it does reflect some ongoing objectives that we’ve been trying to get to for some time,” he said.
Durst spoke against the motion. “I simply can’t endorse, from my standpoint, policy that hasn’t been really well thought-out and isn’t strategic in nature,” he said, noting that both the governor’s education stakeholder task force and legislative interim committee will be addressing education issues over the coming months. “If we want to have differential pay, let’s have a discussion about what that looks like,” Durst said. “Don’t just make it a one-year thing. Make it a permanent thing if we want to do it. We tried that before, the outcome was rejection by the voters. I think at this point we’re sending a mixed message to our constituents … put it right back in their face and tell them they’re going to like it.”
Sen. Jim Patrick, R-Twin Falls, said, “I feel much better about voting positively in this case, since we did have a public hearing, we had good testimony, and we didn’t have any opposition.” The bill now moves to the full Senate.
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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