$40K Minimum Teacher Salary – LD 898

MEA’s bill to raise the minimum teacher salary to $40K is making its way through the Legislature. The Senate passed the bill, LD 898, “under the hammer” – meaning no one objected to the bill and there was no formal vote. The bill is now in the House. This is a key bill. Raising the minimum teacher salary is crucial in order to attract and retain teachers into the profession. What’s more, if we are successful in raising the minimum teacher salary, this will have a major impact on the rest of the steps on the scale. The bill is sponsored by the Education Committee Chair, Senator Rebecca Millett.

Please take a minute to email your legislators and tell them to support LD 898: http://bit.ly/Raise-Teacher-Pay

The bill is now in the House, and will head back to the Senate for final votes.

Two Year Probationary Period – LD 345

MEA’s bill to change the probationary period for new teachers and new hires is making its way through the Legislature. The bill has been voted on in the House and Senate already and is going back to the House and Senate for final votes. Like the bill above, the bill passed “under the hammer” – meaning no one objected and there was no formal roll call. In 2011, the probationary period was extended to three years for new hires. This bill would move it back to two years for all teachers. The bill is sponsored by Representative David McCrea from Fort Fairfield, a 47 year science teacher and MEA member.

MEA is watching this closely and will work to hopefully get this bill passed.

Collective Bargaining Bills-LD 240- Ed Policy • LD 900- Right to Strike • LD 1177- Binding Arbitration

The MEA continues to advocate for these three bills. The right to strike and binding arbitration bills have been approved by the Labor Committee on party line votes and are headed to the floor soon. This week the Labor Committee worked on LD 240 (ed policy) and limited the scope to two issues – teacher transfers and planning/prep periods.

MEA still needs help with these bills. If you can, please email your legislators and ask them to support LD 240 (ed policy), LD 900 (right to strike) and LD 1177 (binding arbitration): http://bit.ly/MEA-Labor-Bills

Quick Updates

School Based Health Centers: Bills to increase the number of school-based health centers are making their way through the Legislature. The bills, LD 392 and LD 839, are sponsored by Representative Jim Handy and would codify funding for school-based health centers and expand the funding so more schools can open health centers. The MEA supports both bills.

Card Check Union Recognition: The MEA supports LD 757, a bill that would make union recognition in the public sector subject to card check. This means if a majority of workers in a non-represented job class wants to join the MEA, all they would need to do is sign a card stating their desire to join the union and the employer would be required to recognize the MEA as the bargaining agent. This bill is making its way through the House and Senate. MEA expects the bill to pass.

Identify Theft: The MEA has worked with others in the state to put together LD 696, which would offer public school employees some protection in case of data breaches by our employers. The bill requires school districts to notify employees if they fear a data breach has occurred. Currently, schools are exempted from the notification and in at least one case employees had their information stolen and they were not notified until identities were stolen.

Red Flag Bill: The MEA supports the “red flag” bill in the Legislature. This bill will create a process to deny certain individuals access to guns if they have demonstrated behaviors that are threatening or dangerous. With the increase of school shootings around the country, the members of the MEA have instructed the Association to support “red flag” legislation and other bills and efforts to bring about greater gun safety in our state. The MEA supports this bill and encourage members to urge the legislature’s Judiciary Committee to support commonsense gun safety legislation: http://bit.ly/RedFlag-ME