Friday, March 17, 2017
Good afternoon! It was a short week at the Capitol as the House took off Wednesday and both the House and Senate took off Thursday for spring break. Next Thursday, March 23rd is the deadline for bills to be heard on the floor in their chamber of origin, so we expect an increase in floor activity next week as legislators work to get their bills heard before the deadline. Below is a brief summary of a few of the bills with potential to impact our association. If you have questions about any of the information provided below, please contact our office, or you may contact Skye McNiel, 918-645-1289 or by email at smcniel@okacte.org or Hayley Jones at (405) 524-1191.                                  
  I. 4-day School Week): HB 1684 by Rep. Harold Wright (R-Weatherford)

In its introduced form, HB 1684 required 80 percent of the school year to consist of five-day school weeks. It requires schools to submit a request to the State Board of Education for a waiver from the requirement.

  • HB 1684 was amended by committee substitute to remove the 80 percent requirement of five-day school weeks. Rather, the bill now simply requires school districts that utilize a four-day school week submit a report to the State Board of Education detailing goals to be sought by the four-day week. School districts must submit an updated plan every three years.
  • HB 1684 was heard on the House floor this week, where failed by a vote of 45-43For more on the debate on HB 1684, read THIS eCapitol report.


II. State Finance & Budget:SB 170 by Sen. Roger Thompson (R-Okemah)

SB 170 repeals the individual income tax trigger that would reduce the top marginal rate from 5.0 percent to 4.85 percent.  

  • SB 170 passed the Senate floor this week by a vote of 39-6. For more on the bill, read THIS eCapitol report.


III. Curriculum and Instruction:HB 1941 by Rep. Rhonda Baker (R-Yukon)

HB 1941 creates the Oklahoma Civics Education Initiative Act, which requires every student enrolled in a public school (or pursuing a GED) to take and receive a passing grade on the 100 question U.S. Citizenship Test in order to graduate with a standard diploma. The State Board of Career & Technology Education shall provide for administration of the test to GED students. Students may take the test as many times as necessary to receive a passing grade of 60%. The measure makes provisions for students on an IEP and English language learners.

  • HB 1941 passed the House Common Education Committee on Feb. 20 and is now eligible to be heard on the House floor, though it has not yet been scheduled. It must be heard by the end of next week in order to remain active for this legislative session.

  • HB 2155 by Rep. Jadine Nollan (R-Sand Springs)
    HB 2155 requires the State Board of Education to adopt a new system of college and career planning tools known as the Individual Career Academic Plan (ICAP). Beginning with students entering the ninth grade in 2019-2020, each student shall be required to complete the process of an ICAP in order to graduate from a public high school with a standard diploma. The ICAP shall include but not be limited to components such as: career and college interest surveys, written postsecondary and workforce goals and progress towards those goals, intentional sequence of courses that reflect progress toward a student’s postsecondary goals, the student’s academic progress, and a service learning component.
  • HB 2155 passed the House Common Education Committee on Feb. 20 and is now eligible to be heard on the House floor, though it has not yet been scheduled. It must be heard by the end of next week in order to remain active for this legislative session.


IV. Teacher Retirement: HB 1162 by Rep. McDaniel (R-Edmond)

HB 1162 creates the Pension Protection Act, which increases the vesting schedule from five years to seven years for TRS members who enter the system on or after November 1, 2017.

  • HB 1162 passed the House floor this week by a vote of 85-5. The measure will now be engrossed and sent to the Senate

SB 428 by Sen. Jason Smalley (R-Stroud)
SB 428 allows TRS members who retired as active classroom teachers to be eligible to be reemployed as an active classroom teacher with no limitations on earnings for a period of three years beginning July 1, 2017. 

  • SB 428 passed the Senate Retirement & Insurance Committee and is now eligible to be heard on the Senate floor. It must be heard by the end of next week in order to remain alive for this legislative session.

V. OHLAP: SB 529 by Sen. Jason Smalley (R-Stroud)

SB 529 modifies the qualifications and criteria required for students to participate in the Oklahoma Higher Learning Access Program. It requires an award for eligible Oklahoma Higher Learning Access Program students enrolled in a postsecondary vocational-technical program offered by a technology center school that meets the requirements to be eligible for federal student financial aid be satisfied for both vocational-technical and college work in which enrolled. It expands to the scope of student ineligible for the program with parents that meet updated income requirements. 

  • SB 529 has passed the Senate Education and Senate Appropriations Committees and is now eligible to be heard on the Senate floor. It must be heard by the end of next week in order to remain alive for this legislative session.
  RESOURCES:

Oklahoma Legislature:  http://www.oklegislature.gov/index.aspx