Teachers with an interest in politics may want to read up on Senator Andy Well’s latest bill – but only after they’re off the clock. Senate Bill 480 prohibits teachers from campaigning for a candidate during the school day and from using a school’s computers or telephones for campaigning.
Wells says the legislation does not infringe on an employee’s rights, the bill simply will have teachers comply with the same set of rules as all other state workers.
Senator Jerry Tillman called the bill “long overdue.” But some members of the Senate Education Committee say the bill raises additional questions that need to be clarified before it becomes law.
* Can a teacher tell their students to make sure their parents vote for a pro-education candidate?
* Can a teacher attending a PTA meeting take a stand on a policy issue?
* If a local district has a school construction bond issue on the ballot, can a teacher lobby for its passage?
* Would this also apply to a superintendent, when it’s less clear when they are off-duty?
SB 480 passed on a voice vote with legislative staffers promising to further review the bill’s language and intent as it heads to the Judiciary I Committee.
To read the full bill, click here. To watch a portion of Wednesday’s committee hearing, click below.