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The three-day work weeks have commenced. The House and Senate convened Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday completing the 16th,17th, and 18th legislative days. There are 12 days remaining this session.  It is full steam ahead and many education bills, including the two budgets, are still waiting final passage.  

The ETF Budget will likely be in the House Ways & Means Education Committee the week of May 20.

Governor Kay Ivey is supporting legislation to change the elected State Board of Education to appointed. SB397 sponsored by Sen. Marsh was introduced Thursday. If you haven’t read all the news articles about the bill let me summarize what this bill will do.

  • SB397 is a constitutional amendment that would be on the March 2020 ballot.
  • If the constitutional amendment is approved it would rename the State Board of Education as the Alabama Commission of Elementary and Secondary Education.
  • The nine members of the Commission will be appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate. Commission members serve for terms of six years and may not serve for more than two full consecutive terms.
  • The State Superintendent of Education would be renamed as the Secretary of Elementary and Secondary Education.
  • The Secretary would be appointed by the commission and confirmed by the Senate.
  • The Governor would be authorized to appoint a team of local educators and other officials to advise the Commission on matters related to the functioning and duties of the State Department of Education.
  • The State Department of Education would be governed by the Commission and would work in coordination with local boards of education.
  • SB398 also introduced Thursday is related to SB397 and would REQUIRE the Governor to consult with the membership of all minority caucuses of the Legislature when appointing minority members to the Commission.

In the legislative process a constitutional amendment must receive a three-fifths vote in the House and Senate before going to the ballot.

We thought a press conference was going to be held on Thursday, but the press conference was cancelled for reasons unknown. Instead, Governor Ivey posted a statement on the bill (view statement) and wrote a letter (click here to read) to each State Board of Education member and placed it on their desk at the State Board of Education regular-called meeting on Thursday.

The CLAS Executive Committee voted to adopt a neutral position on SB397.

 

Committee Meetings: 
  • HB21 (Baker) Partial lump sum option plan (PLOP) - Provides an additional option at retirement; allows a member to take up to 2 years of his or her benefit as a one-time partial lump sum distribution in exchange for a reduced lifetime monthly distribution. The bill passed the Senate F&TE committee, now waits to be placed on the Senate Special Order Calendar for final passage.
  • SB220 (Albritton) Alabama Lottery - This lottery will only include participation in multi-state lottery games that are played with paper tickets, eliminates all electronic games, and would make illegal pari-mutuel wagering (dog and horse tracks) that are currently operating in the state. A sub was adopted by House Economic Development and Tourism Committee that would split lottery revenue:  75% GF and 25% to ETF.  The committee will vote on the bill as substituted in committee next week.
  • SB8 (Coleman-Madison) Population requirement to establish a board of education. This bill failed a favorable report vote of 2-4. Senators Butler, Elliott, McClendon, and Price voted no; Smitherman and Melson voted yes.
  • HB291 (Garrett) Religious Release Time - Local boards of education to allow release time for religious education off campus for elective credit. Liability is on the student, parent, and entity that is providing the elective credit. The bill received a favorable report and is pending third reading in the Senate..
  • HB449 (Gray) Yoga Bill - Allows local boards of education to offer yoga to students. The bill had a public hearing in the House Education Policy Committee Wednesday, and no vote was taken. It is typical policy to not vote until the following week on a bill that has a public hearing.
  • SB14 (Melson) Bible as Elective - Allows bible to be offered an elective in grades 6-12. The bill had a public hearing in the House Education Policy Committee Wednesday. The committee will vote on the bill next week.
Bills that Passed the House
  • HB108 (Baker) Alabama Industry Recognized and Registered Apprenticeship Program Act – Passed the House 96-0.
  • HB506 (Estes) Emergency Certificate Extended – allows emergency certificate to be extended to two years. Passed on a vote of 100-0.

Bills that Passed the Senate

  • HB339 (Ledbetter) Pledge of Allegiance - Would require the pledge of allegiance be conducted at the beginning of each school day. Passed the Senate with an amendment. The bill goes back to the House for concurrence.
  • SB90 (Scofield) Broadband Grant Program – Revisions to a grant program to provide broadband in underserved areas. The Senate ETF Budget appropriated $30 million to this grant program.
Bills Introduced and Added to Tracking:
  • HB570 (Collins) This bill would provide that an individual who completes an apprenticeship may be granted an occupational license in that trade if the individual also meets other requirements, including completion of any required examination with a passing score, and provides that if a licensing authority requires an examination for a license, the authority may not impose higher testing standards upon that individual than it does for any other applicant. This bill also provides incentives for employers to hire in-school youth apprentices by allowing children from 14 years of age through 17 years of age to participate in apprenticeship programs certified by the Alabama Office of Apprenticeship.
  • HB581 (Sells)  EIRP - This bill would establish an Employees' Investment Retirement Plan (EIRP) for certain members of the Teachers' Retirement System and the Employees' Retirement System of the Retirement Systems of Alabama and would further provide options for Tier I and Tier II members to participate in EIRP.
  • HB592  (Stadhagen) - Under existing law, a parent or guardian of a child in a public or private K-12 school is required to immunize that child for participation in school. Religious exemptions from this requirement are allowed. This bill would remove the religious exemption for immunization of children in schools.

Next Week:

Monday watch your email for a CLAS Action Alert on HB77 (Baker) Teacher Recruitment and Retention Act. We would like everyone to participate and help the voice of educators be heard loud and clear. All the information you need will be included in the alert.

Another three-day week is expected. The House has posted its Special-Order Calendar for Tuesday, May 13 and two bills we are tracking are listed:

  • HB32 (Boyd) Kyle Graddy Act – Allows the administration of single dose autoinjectable epinephrine on K-12 school campuses by students
  • HB462 (Easterbrook) High School Career Technical Facilities - Public high school career technical programs, local boards of education authorized to use any available facilities board determines better suited than existing facilities, notwithstanding State Building Code or other building codes.

Many education bills are on committee agendas Wednesday, May 15:

  • Economic Development & Tourism at 1:30
    • SB220 (Albritton) Alabama Lottery - Estimated to raise $167 million for Alabama. This lottery will only include participation in multi-state lottery games that are played with paper tickets, eliminates all electronic games, and would make illegal pari-mutuel wagering (dog and horse tracks) that are currently operating in the state.
  • Senate F&TE at 10:00am
    • SB288 (Smitherman) Retirees one-time lump sum payment - provide for a funded $800 one-time lump sum addition to the retirement benefits of certain retirees and beneficiaries of the Teachers’ Retirement System.
  • Senate Education Policy at 1:00
    • HB159 (Lee) Bathroom Bill – The bill would reduce the required number of restroom fixtures at public high school sports stadiums for each sex based on seating occupancy.
    • HB216 (Faulkner) Computer Science – The bill would phase in the requirement that each public school in the state offer courses in computer science; provide funding for evidence-based, authentic computer science professional learning for K-12 computer science teachers; provide for a designated state computer science specialist at the State Department of Education; provide secondary and post-secondary graduation credit and admissions pathways in computer science for students; establish multiple computer science certification pathways for public school teachers.
    • HB506 (Estes) Emergency Certificate Extended - Allows emergency certificate to be extended to two years. Passed on a vote of 100-0.
    • SB397 (Marsh) State Board of Education
    • SB398 (Marsh) This bill would require the Governor to consult with the membership of all minority caucuses of the Legislature when appointing minority members to the Alabama Commission on Elementary and Secondary Education.

Convene Report: The House will convene for the 19th legislative day on Tuesday, May 14 at 1:00, and the Senate at 4:00 p.m.