State News Roundup for July 25, 2011
Ohio – More Than 900,000 Signatures Validated to Place SB5 Repeal on November Ballot
Today the Ohio Secretary of State announced that the repeal of SB 5 will be on the ballot in November. More than 900,000 signatures were validated from all 88 counties. In addition, all 88 counties which have reported also exceeded the 3% threshold of voters from the last gubernatorial election. The response to repeal SB 5, the unfair attack on employee rights and worker safety, far outpaces any other signature collection drive in Ohio history.
“Today is a proud day for the more than 10,000 We Are Ohio volunteers who worked so hard to collect more than 1.3 million signatures,” said Melissa Fazekas, spokeswoman for We Are Ohio. “Due to their efforts, We Are Ohio has collected and validated more signatures than any other campaign in Ohio history. We Are Ohio also achieved unprecedented validation in all 88 counties. This history making, grassroots campaign, continues to prove SB 5 is a bad bill that was passed by extreme politicians who are out of touch with hardworking Ohioans. We look forward to giving all Ohioans the opportunity to exercise their right to a citizen’s veto of SB 5 on November 8, 2011.”
Visit We Are Ohio for more information and to learn how you can get involved.
Connecticut -SEBAC Changes Bylaws, Cuts to Education Still Possible
Governor Malloy released a budget cutting plan Friday which would chop 31 million in education funds from the state’s FY 2012 budget and 36.5 million from FY 2013. Although Malloy has kept his word and level funded the ECS grant, these educational cuts would have serious consequences for Connecticut children.
There is still a chance these budget cuts will not be necessary – the State Employees Bargaining Agent Coalition (SEBAC) met this morning and changed its bylaws to allow ratification of a concessions package if a majority of unions and members approve.
The concessions package that the unions voted down was approved by a majority of members, but failed to pass because it didn’t meet the bylaw requirement. Formerly the bylaw stated that 14 out of 15 unions representing 80 percent of the rank-and-file membership must approve a concessions package in order for it to be ratified.
Get the full story on BlogCEA.org.
Montana – Unnecessary Cuts Hard to Forget
This editorial, co-authored by MEA-MFT President Eric Feaver, appeared in many of the state’s newspapers last week.
It’s an opportunity to consider solutions that will put Montana on a stronger path to prosperity.
When the dust settled in Helena at the end of the 2011 legislative session, a state budget for the next two years emerged that largely escaped the immense harm that would have resulted from the legislative majority’s proposals.
For months during the session, the legislative majority attempted to slash funding for our schools, children’s health insurance, disability services and countless other programs and services that make Montana a great place to live and work.
Montanans responded. Thousands attended rallies to demand that legislators reverse the senseless budget cuts.
This extraordinary outpouring, along with support from the governor, forced the legislative majority to restore almost $150 million in funding for crucial public services.
To read the full editorial, click through to the Montana Education Association.
New York – NYSUT Hails State’s Approval of Innovative Initiative Rubric
New York State United Teachers today welcomed the State Education Department’s inclusion of a NYSUT Innovation Initiative model in its list of approved rubrics for the new teacher evaluation system. The rubric was designed by teams of teachers and administrators working in collaboration.
Districts and their local unions from across the state will choose a rubric from that list in developing their system of evaluating teachers.
“Once again, collaboration among stakeholders and an emphasis on the excellent work of practitioners results in the highest standards that will ultimately lead to student success,” said NYSUT President Richard C. Iannuzzi. ”
The NYSUT Innovation Initiative began two years ago with a grant from the American Federation of Teachers Innovation Fund and has since received a federal i3 grant to continue that work. The AFT is one of NYSUT’s national affiliates.
For more information, visit New York State United Teachers.
Florida – Lawsuit Will Challenge Blaine Amendment Initiative on 2012 Ballot
Individuals and groups representing Florida’s public schools and religious community have filed a in state Circuit Court in Tallahassee challenging an amendment placed on the ballot by the Florida Legislature that would significantly alter the no-aid provision in the Florida Constitution.
“This is a shady way of opening the door for school vouchers for all,” said Florida Education Association (FEA) President Andy Ford. “Throughout the nation, voters have repeatedly rejected voucher initiatives, which would weaken our public schools. The leadership of the Legislature realized this, so they approved an amendment whose ballot title, “Religious Freedom,” and summary are misleading.”
The constitutional amendment, labeled Amendment 7 by the office of the Secretary of State, would substantially alter the no-aid provision of the Florida Constitution, which has been in effect for more than 125 years. The provision, which is in Article 1, section 3 of the Constitution, protects the religious freedom rights of all Floridians by barring taxpayer-funded aid to religious institutions.
“The ballot summary adopted by the Legislature are misleading to voters about the impact of Amendment 7,” said attorney Ron Meyer, who is representing the plaintiffs in the case. “This is a violation of the requirement that the summary be clear and unambiguous, and must state the legal effect of the ballot proposed.”
Visit the Florida Education Association for more information.