The following bills submitted by legislators and affecting the operation of schools and labor law have been accepted for consideration by the next session of the Legislature when it convenes in January 2020.
LR: 2861, An Act Regarding the Negotiation of Educational Policies by School Boards. Sponsor: Representative Brennan of Portland. This bill deals with the adoption of education policy.
LR: 2844, An Act To Extend to Other Public Sector Employees the Same Protections Provided to State Employees upon the Expiration of Contracts. Sponsor: Senator Claxton of Androscoggin. This bill would say all public sector employees have the right during the interim after the expiration of a collective bargaining agreement and before the effective date of any subsequent collective bargaining agreement to remain eligible for and receive merit increases in accordance with the terms and conditions set forth in the expired collective bargaining agreement. A bill providing that for state employees was passed in the first session of the 129th legislature.
LR: 2676, An Act To Amend the Laws Regarding the Reserve Funds of School Administrative Districts, Regional School Units and Career and Technical Education Regions. Sponsor: Representative Cloutier of Lewiston. This bill would allow a School Board to expend reserve funds for an emergency necessitating immediate expenditures when obtaining voter permission would be cost-prohibitive or when the expenditure is required by law.
LR: 2777, An Act To Set a Minimum Wage for School Support Staff. Sponsor: Representative Collings of Portland. This bill would require a minimum wage of $16 per hour for school support staff.
LR: 2789, An Act To Allow Retired Law Enforcement Officers To Serve as School Resource Officers. Sponsor: Senator Dill of Penobscot. This bill would allow school districts to hire as school resource officers persons who served full time as a certified law enforcement officer in good standing at the state, municipal, county, or federal level.
LR: 2959, An Act To Fund Capital Improvements to Career and Technical Education Centers. Sponsor: Representative Fecteau of Biddeford. This bill would fund capital improvements to CTE Centers using securities issued by the Maine Governmental Facilities Authority.
LR: 2874, An Act To Provide Funding for Broadband Internet Infrastructure in Unserved and Underserved Areas. Sponsor: Senator Herbig of Waldo. This bill would allocate $15 million from the General Fund to expand access to reliable, high-speed internet.
LR: 2875, An Act To Provide Funding for Capital Improvements and Equipment for Career and Technical Education Centers and Regions. Sponsor: Senator Herbig of Waldo. This bill would appropriate $4 million from the General Fund to the Department of Education to make capital improvements to and purchase equipment for CTE Centers and Regions.
LR: 2717, An Act To Amend the Laws Governing Arbitration under Certain Public Employees Labor Relations Laws. Sponsor: President Jackson of Aroostook. This bill would amend the laws governing binding arbitration under certain public employees labor relations laws.
LR: 2724, An Act To Establish a Process for the Consideration and Implementation of Changes to School Curricula. Sponsor: Representative Kornfield of Bangor. This bill would have the Commissioner of Education establish a review committee made up of teachers, administrators and content specialist to review proposals to add to, or change, school curricula and present its findings to the Education Committee.
LR: 2862, An Act To Increase High School Graduation Rates for Students Experiencing Homelessness or in Foster Care. Sponsor: Senator Libby of Androscoggin. This bill would allow students who change schools to receive a diploma from their previous school under certain circumstances and ensure the appropriate award of credits.
LR: 2673, An Act To Protect Teachers from Punitive Transfers. Sponsor: Representative McCrea of Fort Fairfield. This bill would prohibit a district from transferring a teacher for “punitive reasons or as an act of retaliation.”
LR: 2674, An Act To Protect Teachers from Certification Changes. Sponsor: Representative McCrea of Fort Fairfield. This bill provides that when a teacher becomes initially certified, the grade spans for subject the teacher is eligible to teach may not be changed for that teacher. A teacher may be subject to additional course work if recertification requirements change.
LR: 2948, Title: An Act Regarding School Discipline for Maine's Youngest Students. Sponsor: Representative Morales South Portland. This bill would prohibit out-of-school suspensions and withholding of recess as disciplinary options for pre-K to Grade 5 students and provide for legal representation for indigent children at certain hearings.
LR: 3100, An Act To Protect Communications between Bargaining Agents and Union Members. Sponsor: Representative Sylvester of Portland. This would prohibit public employers from accessing private communication between unions and their members. It appears tied to passage of a law earlier this year that allows the union to use the school email system to communicate with their members – a system run on school computers where there is no expectation of privacy.
LR: 3101, An Act Regarding the Definition of "Public Employee". Sponsor: Representative Sylvester of Portland. This bill would remove the exemption for a person who has been employed less than 6 months from the definition of “public employee” in the municipal public employees labor relations laws.
LR: 2606, An Act Regarding Immunizations for Students. Sponsor: Representative Tipping of Orono. This bill would exempt students who attend virtual charter schools and postsecondary students who attend all classes online from immunization requirements. It also expands the universal vaccine program to include coverage of students enrolled in or accepted to postsecondary schools in Maine.
LR: 2925, An Act To Incentivize the Purchase of Electric Public School Buses. Sponsor: Senator Vitelli of Sagadahoc. This bill would provide incentives to municipalities and other purchasers of schools buses to replace aging vehicles with electronic buses.
LR: 2685, An Act To Help Retain School Bus Drivers. Sponsor: Senator Woodsome of York. This bill would exempt laid-off employees from work-search requirements in unemployment law for up to six weeks if their employers set a specific date for the employees to return to their jobs after no more than 12 weeks.