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Legislative Updates

79th Legislative Session Report Card

The 79th Legislative Session ended Monday, June 5, 2017 and the results are in: this was a session of accomplishment! NSEA was a major force in crushing ESA private school vouchers and engaged other policy that supports educators and students. NSEA is proud of the thousands of members who took action during the legislative session. The session of accomplishment was a result of NSEA member engagement, and together we will build on that momentum to ensure NSEA's vision of a quality public education for all Nevada students. Listed below are NSEA priorities, agreed upon by the NSEA Lobby Team and representing just a few of the almost 100 bills lobbied by the NSEA Ground Team.

Subject: Top Priorities

Bill: Senate Bill 506
Issue: ESA Private School Vouchers
Position: Oppose Strongly
Result: Bill killed, ESA program dead, budget passed without ESA funding

Summary: NSEA's top priority was making sure tens of millions of dollars from public education would not be diverted to private schools, and its goal was achieved. ESA private school vouchers are dead - no public money will go to private schools. NSEA, its members, and community and labor partners all worked together to support Democratic allies who blocked voucher funding. CCEA leadership did not testify on the voucher issue and was quoted by news media as having given up on the issue. Your state and national organization never checked out and will continue to fight and win on this top priority public education issue.

The legislature passed a compromise package that involved passage of a new marijuana tax that is estimated to bring in $70M per biennium. They also passed a bill to add a one-time $20 million to the Opportunity Scholarship program that expires in 2019. Opportunity Scholarships are much more restrictive than vouchers and why privatization proponents were devastated when ESAs were killed. NSEA will continue working with NEA to stomp out the Trump-DeVos public education privatization efforts and work to see all revenue is directed toward strengthening public education.

Bill: Assembly Bill 320
Issue: Teacher Evaluations
Position: Support 
Result: Passed, signed by Governor Sandoval

Summary: For two legislative sessions, NSEA members have been saying loud and clear: get student test scores out of evaluations. NSEA led the discussion this session with a bill that would have done just that and worked to reverse the compromises created in the 2015 legislative session. With strong pro-public education allies NSEA helped to elect in 2016 the ball was moved closer to that goal. Any use of state student test scores is prohibited from teacher evaluations. Instead, student growth will account for 20% of a teacher's evaluation next year and  40% in subsequent years.  This is a major step forward to correct the 2015 agenda. Building on our 2017 legislative success, we will continue to work on this issue. 

Bill: Senate Bill 178
Issue: Weighted Funding Formula
Position: Support
Result: Passed, signed by Governor Sandoval

Summary: Public education will see an additional $72M this biennium programmed through the Weighted Funding Formula - all 1 and 2 star schools will receive $1200 per student who is low-income or ELL and scoring in bottom quartile. NSEA will continue working for dedicated predictable funding for Nevada's public education system to help all students have an opportunity for success.

Bill: Senate Bill 303
Issue: Excessive High-Stakes Testing Audit
Position: NSEA Bill, support
Result: Passed, signed by Governor Sandoval

Summary: Throughout the state and country educators say the same thing: too much testing, give us back our classroom time. SB303 brought forward by Sen. Joyce Woodhouse, who worked closely with NSEA, moves Nevada closer to removing excessive testing of our students. SB303 is part of Sen. Woodhouse's "Time to teach, not test" initiative and requires the Nevada Department of Education "conduct a full audit of student assessments at every grade level." This audit will shine a light on unnecessary and redundant testing so we can return valuable classroom time to educators.

Bill: Senate Bill 430
Issue: Achievement School District
Position: Supported bill to kill achievement school districts, opposed amended bill
Result: Amended bill failed

Summary: NSEA heard the message loud and clear from members and the community - no achievement school districts and NSEA led the charge to kill this privatization scheme. Unfortunately, this program was part of the Governor's 2015 education reform package and any bill trying to kill the program faced a veto from Governor Sandoval.  An amendment was proposed that NSEA saw as making a bad situation worse - it added parent triggers to the program and could have outsourced jobs. NSEA will continue to voice support to keep public schools in the hands of the community where they belong and not allow them to be turned over to out-of-state private companies. 

Bill: Senate Bill 386
Issue: Progressive Student Discipline
Position: Sponsored and Support
Result: Passed, signed by Governor Sandoval

Summary: NSEA works on issues to support all educators in Nevada, and SB386 is a perfect example of legislation that works to empower teachers and education support professionals. Student behavioral issues can cause very serious problems putting other students and school employees at risk. SB386, sponsored by Senator Joyce Woodhouse, is an additional tool to create a safe school environment by strengthening and extending progressive student discipline to other school facilities and transportation.

Subject: Supporting Students

Bill: Senate Bill 390
Issue: Zoom Schools
Position:  Support
Result: Passed, awaiting action by Governor Sandoval

Summary: The Zoom school English Language Learner program was created in the 2013 legislative session, and the program is showing results in the schools that have it. The Zoom and Victory school programs were highlighted throughout the session as what is working to help students and lift our public schools. SB390 continues the Zoom school program.

Bill: Assembly Bill 447
Issue: Victory Schools
Position:  Support
Result: Passed, signed by Governor Sandoval

Summary: Victory Schools, addressing at-risk students was modeled after the Zoom school legislation in the 2015 legislative session, and the program is also showing return on investment in the schools that have it. The Zoom and Victory school programs were highlighted throughout the session as what is working to help students and lift public schools. AB447 continues the Victory school program.

Bill: Assembly Bill 64
Issue: Special Education Diplomas
Position:  Support and sponsored amendment
Result: Passed, signed by Governor Sandoval

Summary: The testimony on AB64 was heartbreaking - a father of a special needs student said his son wanted to work, wanted to be a contributing member of society but couldn't because his son did not have a diploma. AB64 changes that and provides a pathway to a standard diploma. NSEA asked for and received an amendment to retroactively grant diplomas to those up to the age 22 who have already completed the requirements.

Subject: Supporting Educators

Bill: Assembly Bill 434
Issue: Teacher Incentives
Position:  Support
Result: Passed, signed by Governor Sandoval

Summary: The Trump-DeVos proposal to cut Title 1 school funding to pay for private school vouchers is appalling.  Caught up in this is a proposal to do away with educator tuition reimbursement programs for educators who commit themselves to Title 1 schools. That's why NSEA was proud to support AB434 providing $2.5 million worth of incentives to attract new and veteran educators to Title 1 and underperforming schools.

Bill: Senate Bill 164
Issue: School Bus Leases
Position: Support
Result: Passed, signed by Governor Sandoval

Summary: Allows school districts to lease school buses for private events. Provides more work opportunities for district drivers. 

Bill: Senate Bill 300
Issue: Peer Assistance and Review (PAR)
Position: Support
Result: Passed, signed by Governor Sandoval

Summary:  Peer Assistance and Review has many different forms across the state.  The main goal, however, is to keep teachers in the profession.  The CCSD PAR program (started in 2014) received funding from the 2015 session.  This session, CCSD will again receive funding, and WCSD's PAR (started in 2012) will also receive state funding.  NSEA worked on amending the language to also include the rural districts in the second year to research and/or start the program. 

Subject: Collective Bargaining, Pensions, & Social Justice Issues

Bill: Senate Bill 552
Issue: PEB Orphan Issue
Position: NSEA Sponsored, support
Result: Passed, signed by Governor Sandoval

Summary: SB552 was a top priority for NSEA-Retired (NSEA-R) this session and helps a group of retired educators, referred to as "orphans" in the state health system, who have faced higher healthcare costs stuck in a small high-risk insurance pool. This bill makes and appropriation and transfers responsibility for healthcare back to local districts over time and affixes healthcare costs to those paid by retired state employees.

Bill: Senate Bill 356 and Assembly Bill 271
Issue: Collective Bargaining
Position: Support
Result: Vetoed by Governor Sandoval

Summary: SB 356 and AB 271 were two attempts to restore collective bargaining rights to public employee unions. SB 356 was designed to return collective bargaining provisions to before 2015's SB 241. This included restoration of "evergreen" language to extend financial provisions after the expiration of a contract, loosening of timelines for arbitrator selection, and restoration of paid union leave time. When it became clear SB 356 would be vetoed, our labor allies amended and pushed through AB 271 that just restored the paid union leave time language. Despite significant bipartisan support in the Assembly (the bill was sponsored by Republican Assemblymember Jim Wheeler) this was also vetoed.

Bill: Assembly Bill 154
Issue: Prevailing Wage
Position: Support
Result: Vetoed by Governor Sandoval

Summary: NSEA stood with its labor allies and testified in support of AB154 which would level the playing field for union workers on public works projects such as public school construction. NSEA believes skilled union labor should be used on public school projects and will continue to fight along with our union sisters and brothers to bring 100% prevailing wage to Nevada.

Bill: Senate Bill 106, Assembly Bill 175, and SJR 6
Issue: Minimum Wage
Position: Support
Result:  SB 106 and AB 175 vetoed by Governor Sandoval; SJR 6 passed and advances to 2019 session

Summary:  SB 106 and AB 175 were the main attempts to raise the minimum wage (which has not been raised since 2010).  SJR 6 is the constitutional amendment that was forwarded as the back-up plan in case the other legislative efforts to raise the minimum wage were unsuccessful. Many education support professionals across our state earn less than a living wage, and NSEA remains committed to ensuring a living wage for all our members. We also understand that poverty is a leading indicator of preventing student opportunity and success and raising the minimum wage is one of the simplest ways to help students in poverty. NSEA was joined by labor and progressive allies in supporting the two bills.  

Useful Links

NSEA-interactive 2017 Legislature Mobile app 
Nevada Legislature FAQs 
Nevada Legislature dashboard for 79th Legislative Session 
List of Bill Draft Requests (BDRs) 
Nevada Legislative Information System (NELIS) 




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