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Idaho Teachers' Collective Bargaining Veto Referendums, Props. 1 and 2 (2) (2012)

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Prop. 1 and 2
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Type:Veto Referendum
State code:(Targeted laws)SB 1108, 1110, 1184
Topic:Education
Status:On the ballot
Propositions 1 and 2 also know as the Idaho Teachers' Collecive Bargaining Veto Referendums, will be on the November 6, 2012 ballot in the state of Idaho as veto referendums. The measures were filed in response to education bills that were signed into law during 2011 state legislative session.

One measure would repeal a newly passed law that relates to teachers' collective bargaining agreements. According to reports, the law ends tenure and removes issues like workload and class size from contract negotiations.

The second referendum was filed to repeal a similar law also dealing with collective bargaining.

The proposed veto referendums were filed with the Idaho election's office on March 18, 2011. A third veto referendum, Proposition 3, was filed after a previously pending third education-related law was signed into effect. The referendums were filed with the Idaho Secretary of State's office around April 8, 2011.[1][2][3]

Targeted laws

The following laws are being targeted by the three referendum:

Editor's note: Each law is followed by the formal ballot title in which each of the referendums will appear on the ballot.
  • Senate Bill 1108 (Proposition 1) governs collective bargaining rights dealing with teachers in the state.
Statement of Purpose
Statement of Purpose

Support

Supporters

Arguments

  • IEA President Sherri Wood stated about the laws the referendum are trying to repeal: "Basically this so-called reform is nothing more than sending the responsibility to the districts to say we get to cut a whole bunch of things in order to fund technology and a pay-for-performance plan."[4]

Donors

The following is a donation that was made towards the campaign in favor of the measure. The donation was made for signature gathering and petition printing costs, according to reports:[5]

Donor Amount
National Education Association $75,000

Opposition

Opponents

  • The main campaign against the referendums, therefore in favor of upholding the laws, is Yes! for Idaho Education.
  • Governor of Idaho Butch Otter stated that he would personally campaign against them. According to Otter, when commenting on the referendum efforts: “That’s the people’s right — that’s what being part of a republic is all about. We’re going to do our level best to make sure that the correct information gets out.” Otter later added: "I hope they fail."
  • Former Governor of Florida Jeb Bush endorsed the reform, saying that the pieces of legislation "will be the models for the rest of the country.”[6]
  • Tom Luna, state superintendent, defended Senate Bill 1108, stating: "We had a system where it was almost impossible to financially reward great teachers and very difficult to deal with ineffective teachers. If you want an education system that truly puts students first, you have to have both."[7]

Campaigning, events and strategies

  • At the Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry’s annual conference in Twin Falls, the Gov. Otter praised the group for supporting the three Idaho education reform bills, and urged even more support by stating: “The results were the three bills that we finally got through with your help, with your assistance, with your faith, and now they’re under attack. So I need that same energy that you helped us with in the Legislature this last session.”[8]
  • On January 31, 2012 State schools Superintendent Tom Luna defended the laws that the referendums are targeting in front of a joint meeting of the House and Senate education committees. He told lawmakers: “As year, as you know, we passed the most comprehensive education reform in the country. We had to find a way to spend the money we currently had differently.”[9]

Other perspectives

  • Idaho Secretary of State Ben Ysursa had an alternative perspective on the referendums, without giving his position on the purpose behind them. He stated: "Obviously we have the state Legislature, but we also have the people who have reserved for themselves, legislative power to reject legislation, that's the referendum. That's the people's right to legislate, and that's on equal footing, with the Legislature's right to legislate, and here you go back and forth." Ysursa also stated that he would spend the next year and half before the election educating voters on what a "yes" and "no" vote means for the referendums.[10]

Lawsuits

On April 27, 2011, the The Idaho Education Association filed a lawsuit in 4th District Court in Ada County against SB 1108, challenging the constitutionality of the bill. According to IEA President Sherri Wood, when commenting on the lawsuit and the ongoing referendum effort, “Because the Legislature, Gov. Otter and State Superintendent (Tom) Luna failed to listen to the voices of Idaho citizens and, in the case of SB 1108 and the trailer bills, overstepped their legal bounds, the IEA supports citizen efforts to place referendums on the ballot challenging the Luna laws. Likewise, we will challenge the constitutionality of SB 1108 and the trailer bills.”[11]

On September 30, 2011, an Fourth District Judge Timothy Hansen upheld Senate Bill 1108. Hansen stated in his 18-page ruling that collective bargaining limitation "is both reasonable and necessary to the legitimate purposes furthered by SB 1108. As noted above, one of those purposes is returning decision-making power to local school boards."[12]

According to Gov. Otter, when commenting on the decision and the three veto referendums on the 2012 ballot: "That's welcome news. But we recognize this issue and the fate of Students Come First will remain in the courts — including the court of public opinion. Superintendent Luna and I are confident that Idaho citizens understand what's at stake."[12]

Path to the ballot

Signature requirements

In order for a proposed veto referendum to be placed on the 2012 statewide ballot for Idaho voters to decide, at least 47,432 signatures for each targeted bill must have been collected within 60 days after lawmakers leave for the session. On April 7, 2011, the Idaho Legislature concluded their 2011 state legislative session, meaning any referendum effort hoping to obtain ballot access had until June 1, 2011 to submit the required amount of signatures to county clerks' offices. Once the clerks verified enough signatures, the verified signatures were then returned to the supporters. Supporters then had until June 6, 2011 to submit them to the Idaho Secretary of State.[2][13][14]

On May 20, 2011, it was reported that the referendum effort was close to its goals of collecting signatures. Supporters of the effort fully expected to turn in signatures by the June 1 deadline. According to Tim Hurst, the chief deputy secretary of state, when commenting the exact amount of signatures already collected by the initiative effort: “We’re not going to know until the clerks have got everything entered if they’ve got enough [signatures]. We also know there are a lot of signatures that have not been checked by the clerks yet.”[15][16]

Then on May 25, 2011, it was reported that supporters had collected enough signatures to place one of the three measures on the ballot, and were within 800 signatures for the last two proposed ballot referendums.[14]

Signature submission

As the June 1 deadline arrived, in the middle of that day, it was reported that each of the three referendums had enough valid signatures to make the ballot, although those numbers were unofficial. According to reports, the number of validated signatures by county clerks across the state were as follows: 65,088 for SB 1108, 65,252 for SB 1110, and 63,744 for SB 1184.

When contacted by Ballotpedia, the Idaho Secretary of State's office stated that although signatures had not been filed as of 3:30 p.m. MDT, contact was made with the petition organizers, and that signatures would be filed before the close of business.

Signatures were submitted to the Secretary of State's office, reports confirm, as more than 210,000 verified signatures were submitted. Each referendum needed 47,432 valid signatures, which means the more than 72,000 signatures submitted for each measure was well above the requirements. Official ballot placement from the Secretary of State's office was expected shortly after submission of signatures.[17]

Then, on June 13, 2012, the Idaho Secretary of State's office issued official certificates placing the referendums on the November 6, 2012 general election ballot.

See also

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Additional reading

References

  1. Reuters, "Idaho teacher union may ask voters to overturn curbs", March 18, 2011
  2. 2.0 2.1 NWCN.com, "Idaho teachers union takes first step to repeal education bills", March 22, 2011
  3. 3.0 3.1 The Spokesman-Review, "Referendum Drive Greets Ed ‘Reform’", April 8, 2011
  4. 4.0 4.1 KLEWTV.com, "IEA pushes education bill referendum", March 22, 2011
  5. The Republic, "Natl Education Assn pays for signature gatherers for referendum on education reform", April 28, 2011
  6. The Spokesman-Review, "Jeb Bush: Idaho ed reforms ‘models’ for country", June 14, 2011
  7. Magic Valley, "Idaho on Forefront of Weakening Tenure Rights for Teachers", January 24, 2012
  8. Idaho Press, "Otter to business: Support ed laws", June 17, 2011
  9. The Spokesman-Review, "Luna to lawmakers: ‘We had to have a new education system’", January 31, 2012
  10. NWCN.com, "Secretary of state weighs in on education reform referendum", May 26, 2011
  11. Idaho Spokesman, "Idaho teachers sue to block reform bill", April 27, 2011
  12. 12.0 12.1 Idaho Press.com, "Idaho court upholds big part of Luna's ed reforms", September 30, 2011
  13. Klewtv.com, "Effort underway to repeal education reforms", April 24, 2011
  14. 14.0 14.1 Idaho Reporter, "Education reform referendums probably have signatures to get on the ballot", May 25, 2011
  15. Public News Service, "Education Referenda Signature Gatherers: “Almost There”", May 20, 2011
  16. Idaho Reporter, "Education referendum most of the way to its goal", May 19, 2011
  17. Idaho Spokesman, "In brief: Signed referendum petitions submitted", June 7, 2011