State news roundup for July 28, 2012


Florida – Make sure that your are prepared before heading to vote

Following the steps below will help to ensure your vote counts:

  1. Obtain a copy of the election ballot from the newspaper or download a copy from the Supervisor of Elections. Review and fill it out in advance. Take the ballot with you to the poll. Help someone else fill it out in advance.
  2. Check your voter registration status at least 30 days before the election.
  3. Plan ahead the time you’d like to arrive at your precinct to VOTE. If you are able, beat the rush by taking advantage of early voting. Click here to see the early voting site by county:
  4. Take advanatge of mail ballots. They are convenient and easy, but you will need to contact the Supervisor of Elections to request to have a mail ballot sent to you.
  5. If you prefer to vote at the polls in your precinct, make sure to identify your proper polling place in advance. If you have questions, contact your county Supervisor of Elections:
  6. You will need to bring the proper identification with you. The proper identification must be  CURRENT AND include a VALID photo ID with your signature.

Visit to get more tips on how you can ensure your voice counts and make sure your ID is valid for voting.

Wisconsin – Summer organizing drives are heating up

WEAC member organizers Beth Wojciuk (left) and Brenda MorrisBeth Wojciuk knows what teachers have been through the past year and a half. A teacher in Edgerton, she has seen the continued cuts to core curriculum. She has seen the attacks on educators and what they have dedicated their lives to doing. And she’s concerned.

“For me, I’m hoping we can keep people in education – and make this a profession people want to stay in,” Wojciuk said. “It’s going to take time to get back what we lost, but we need to stay united to keep public education strong.”

That’s why Wojciuk and other WEAC members across the state are joining forces with WEAC and UniServ staff to help with the Summer Member Organizing Drives. The project connects members with their colleagues to talk about members’ needs from the union and answer their questions about membership.

In districts all across Wisconsin, member organizers are sitting down with educators and talking about the future of public education, how our union moves forward, and how best we can support each other and the children in the classroom.

Find out how you can get involved in the summer organizing drives at

New Jersey – Twelve districts to participate in second pilot of new teacher evaluation system

From a list of 70 applicants, the N.J. Department of Education (NJDOE) has selected 10 districts for Pilot II of new teacher evaluation system. One of those districts, Collingswood Borough in Camden County, will serve as the lead district in an evaluation consortium with two others–Audubon School District and Merchantville School District. Pilot II will be conducted during the 2012-13 school year.

In addition, the 11 districts that participated in Pilot I, which took place during the 2011-12 school year, have been invited to continue in the pilot project, but the state has not announced which districts will do so. A group of Title I districts is also expected to join Pilot II.

These  districts will split $1 million while the Pilot I districts that join Pilot II will split $200,000 to continue the implementation of their evaluation systems.

Visit to read more and find out if your district is on the list.

Illinois – Possible vote on bill impacting state employee (SERS) pensions

Statement from We Are One Illinois coalition:

Speaker Madigan on July 25 informed our union coalition that he is considering calling HB 1447 on August 17. This bill would gut the provision allowing retirees on fixed incomes to keep up with rising costs. It would burden retirees with the overwhelming share of the state’s pension debt, punishing middle-class public servants for the sins of politicians. It would impact all participants in the State Employees Retirement System (SERS), including those under the Governor, Secretary of State, Treasurer, Comptroller and Attorney General.

We have no certain knowledge of the Speaker’s intent. We reiterated to him today our willingness to work with the legislative leaders to develop a fair pension solution. We will ask legislators to support such a collaborative process, not this unfair and unconstitutional bill.

Learn more about the possible vote at

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