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Legislative Report: Tenure Debate Stirs Senate [AUDIO]

As deadlines loom in both chambers, the Senate debates education bills. Amy Richards has more in Monday’s Legislative Report.

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This Legislative Report brought to you by Hilltop National Bank.

The Senate Judiciary Committee passed a house bill that would eliminate the right of those suspected of driving while under the influence to refuse to take a test. Committee Chairman Sen. Drew Perkins says he voted for House Bill 29 to get it on the Senate floor, but he has some issues with the bill.

Sen. Drew Perkins, why doesn’t like it:

“Ultimately, in every other crime, if there’s probable cause, you state that probable cause to a judge; the judge gets you a search warrant, approves that, looks to see if there is probable cause, if there is then issues a search warrant, and then go get the evidence. In this case, we’ve bypassed that completely. It’s all in the Executive Branch, who is the arresting officer; they determine if there’s probable cause, so they decide if they get to draw the blood, and then you go from there. You don’t have that check with third branch of government, the Judicial Branch, overseeing and making sure that the Executive Branch is doing what they’re supposed to do.”

After several days of debate, the Senate passed the teacher tenure bill on second reading today. (Monday.) Sen. Eli Bebout proposed an amendment, that would include a probationary period for three years and then teachers would be given a four-year contract.

Sen. Eli Bebout, what amendment does:

“Well, as I said on the floor of the Senate, I had an opportunity to go home this weekend and discuss this with a lot of my constituents, teachers, administrators and general public, and what this amendment does, and I think it really affords some protection to the teachers, and in that it gives them an opportunity to have a four-year period for their continuing contract status. I think that’s a fair way to approach it as we continue looking at this bill.”

Laramie Sen. Chris Rothfuss, says the amendment to SF 52 is a step in the right direction.

Sen. Chris Rothfuss, SF 52:

“I’d still be worried about being in that teacher’s class during that fourth year. I think that’s going to be the four-year cycle where they’re not going to stick their neck out, they’re not going to be creative, they’re not going to be innovative because in that fourth year if they do make that administrator mad, or the teacher group mad, or some parents, or somebody, a bit angry.”

The Senate will consider the bill on third and final reading on Tuesday. More amendments are expected.

The Senate also debated the education accountability bill, Senate File 70 and the teacher accountability act, which is Senate File 146 on committee of the whole.

The House passed a bill on third and final reading that would give county commissioners the ability to remove board members from county memorial hospitals. Rep. Mary Throne explains House Bill 211.

Rep. Mary Throne, hospital boards:

“In our state, we have county memorial hospitals, which is what we have in Laramie County. The board members are appointed by the county commissioners. Under current law, no matter what happens, the county commissioners can’t remove hospital board members. And I think that’s just not good government. County commissioners, as the elected officials, need to retain some role over all of our county boards, and particularly hospitals, which play a big role in our community.”

That bill now moves on to the Senate.

Today (Monday) was the deadline for bills to be heard on committee of the whole in the house of origin, otherwise they are dead for the session.

With the Legislative Report, I’m Amy Richards for K2 Radio News.

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