Teachers’ “Fairness in Negotiations” Bill Moves in House

SB 590, far-reaching legislation to change the manner of resolving labor disputes with teachers and other school employees, seems to be on its way toward passage. MACo had opposed the bill, raising concerns that replacing the current dispute resolution process through the State Board of Education with a new system including mediation and eventually semi-binding arbitration would lead to both direct and indirect increases in the costs of providing education services in public schools.

Today, the House Ways and Means Committee’s Education Subcommittee passed the bill, with a limited range of amendments, none of which appear to have material effect on county concerns. MACo had raised the potential for additional county-selected member of the newly-created Public School Labor Relations Board, and for the bill’s provisions to become a “local option” to be enacted by a county government at their option. Neither of those changes were accepted by the Ways and Means Committee in its discussions today.

The amended bill is expected to be on the House floor as soon as tomorrow. As a Senate Bill, it only needs a “concurrence” agreement from the Senate, which appears likely, to resolve the issue for this year and send the bill toward final passage.

Michael Sanderson

Executive Director Maryland Association of Counties

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