Category Archives: Legislation

Same-Sex Marriage and the FMLA in Missouri

Missouri is one of the most recent states to face challenges brought against its prohibition on same-sex marriages.  While so far these decisions have come down in favor of same-sex marriage, the multiple suits, appeals, and decisions have created confusion about when and where a same-sex marriage may be recognized in Missouri.  There likely won’t be a complete answer until the U.S. Supreme Court rules on the matter (which may happen before summer gets here).  Nonetheless federal agencies are taking the opportunity to expand right previously only provided to opposite-sex partnerships and the Department of Labor has done just that with the Family Medical Leave Act.  Hit the jump for all the details… Continue reading

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Filed under Family Medical Leave Act, Legislation, Missouri

Missouri Bar Posts Summary of Laws Passed in 2013

Anyone interested in seeing the myriad changes effected by the Missouri Legislature in the last session would do well to take a gander at the newest edition of the Missouri Bar Legislative Digest.  They have done a terrific job of providing easy to understand summaries of the many, many bills passed earlier this year (with links to the full text if you really want to dig into the details).  Additionally, they provide a handy index of bills by subject matter so that you can quickly see which bills will have the most impact on you.  Pair this Missouri Bar resource with the list of the Governor’s actions on each of these bills, you will find yourself well prepared for the veto session that is scheduled to start on Wednesday.

If you take the time to get educated on only one issue, I would urge you to look up the facts on House Bill 253.  This tax cut proposal, if Governor Nixon’s veto is overridden, is set to cut millions of dollars from education, mental health care, public works, and the legal system.  Learn the facts and then contact your representative so that we continue to put the children of Missouri first.

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Missouri Abuse and Neglect Reporting Updates

This past legislative session introduced a small change to the child abuse and neglect mandatory reporting requirements that will effect all public education employees.  Because this change comes so quickly on the heels of the much larger change to abuse and neglect reporting requirements that went into effect last year, I wanted to take a little time and do a combination introduction / refresher of reporting duties.  We’ll go through the two separate reporting requirements in Missouri (you did know there were two requirements right??), talk about what some signs of abuse and neglect might be, and analyze what impact the change will have.

Hit the jump to stay updated… Continue reading

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Student Transfers from Unaccredited Districts

The Missouri Supreme Court recently ruled on the constitutionality of a state statute that allows students to transfer out of unaccredited districts to bordering districts that are accredited.  See Breitenfeld v. Sch. Dist. of Clayton, No. SC92653 (Mo. June 11, 2013).  The outcome of this case will have far-reaching impacts for the employees and students of both the unaccredited districts and the bordering accredited districts.

Hit the jump for all the “you don’t have to go home but you can stay here” details… Continue reading

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Filed under Legislation, Missouri, Student Rights

Legislative Changes Put Schools in a Lose-Lose Situation

While most of my job involves protecting public school employees from new or overzealous applications of state law, every once in a while I get a reminder that districts themselves can be placed in impossible situations by changed laws.  The current hostility to public education has pushed some legislatures to create ever more restrictive and burdensome school laws and, unfortunately, they aren’t always sensitive to the consequences of their actions.  A recent case from Ohio demonstrates just such a situation where a school district was faced with the decision to follow either state law or federal law with no way to follow both.  See Waldon v. Cincinnati Public Schools, No. 1:12-CV-00677 (S.D. Ohio, April 24, 2013).

Hat tip to the Employer Law Report for pointing this case out.

Hit the jump for all the darned-if-you-do-darned-if-you-don’t details… Continue reading

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Filed under Discrimination, Legislation

New Report on Challenges to Public Education

A non-profit, non-partisan Wisconsin think tank, the Forward Institute, has released a study on the impact of recent legislative changes to public schools.  The report, full-text available here, actually has far-reaching implications because many of the changes that have occurred in Wisconsin are being pushed across the nation, including right here in Missouri.  In particular, just this year Missouri had proposed legislation that would have given letter grades to schools and nearly every year some style of vouchers are proposed.  Fortunately, as of yet Missouri has not faced the contraction of public education funding that Wisconsin has, but changes to Missouri’s tax structure and tax credits could seriously impact school budgets in the future.

Hit the jump for some of the “critical findings” from the report… Continue reading

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Filed under Education, Legislation

Teachers File Suit Against Proposed Missouri Constitutional Amendment

A group of four current and former teachers, including one teacher of the year who is about to be inducted into the National Teacher Hall of Fame, have filed a lawsuit against a proposed amendment to the Missouri constitution that has been approved for the 2014 ballot.  The ballot measure, number 2014-024, purports to enshrine teacher evaluation standards in the Missouri constitution.  However, the individuals challenging the initiative claim that the proposed amendment goes far beyond mere evaluation standards, wrests control of schools away from local districts, and places huge financial burdens on every district in the state.

All the details after the jump… Continue reading

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Billionaire Attacking Teacher Rights in Missouri

A retired financial industry executive and billionaire, Rex Sinquefield, has decided again to use his own personal fortune to attack the rights of middle-class teacher’s in Missouri.  Perhaps best known for comparing public education to the KKK or attempting to remove Missouri’s income tax and replace it with a “Everything Tax” that would blow a huge hole in Missouri’s budget, Mr. Sinquefield has chosen this year as the one to remove the basic procedural work protections that are provided to teachers in Missouri.  It’s time that we stop looking to hurt employees in Missouri and start looking for ways to make working conditions better for everyone.  Mr. Sinquefield’s route is not the way.

Hit the jump for the complete news release on the proposed changes to the Missouri constitution… Continue reading

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Missouri Legislation (Paycheck Deception) Action Alert!

The Missouri Senate is going to be debating a bill today that would eliminate the right of employees to use paycheck deductions to pay union dues and make it much harder for employees to make voluntary contributions to unions.  While we have been repeatedly told that public educators prefer using paycheck deductions and that it doesn’t create any additional burden for school districts since they already allow paycheck deductions for a variety of reasons.  The only reason for this bill is to attack the voice of public employees and chip away at the rights they have protected under the Missouri constitution.

Use the following link to contact your representative and let them know you don’t support attacks on Missouri workers: http://progressmissouri.pnstate.org/site/Advocacy?pagename=homepage&id=3393.

Read the full action alert from Missouri NEA after the jump… Continue reading

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