Idaho Senate Votes 20-15 to Approve Third Luna Bill

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As day gave way to night, the Idaho Senate gave Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna his wish: passage of his third and most controversial bill to change the state’s education system.

After nearly five hours of debate, the Idaho Senate voted 20-15 to approve Senate Bill 1184, which would shift money traditionally used for teachers' salaries into funding for technology and a new pay-for-performance plan.

Here’s a sample of this today’s debate:

Republican Sen. John Goedde: “We must adapt or we will become irrelevant.”

Republican Sen. John Tippets: "If Senate Bill 1184 doesn’t pass, school districts don’t get more money."

Democratic Sen. Elliot Werk: “This bill is more disingenuous from the original version. I saw that there was no public testimony allowed on this.” Lieutenant Governor Brad Little cautioned Werk that he couldn’t refer to the committee’s decision not to take testimony.

Republican Sen. Mitch Toryanski: “This bill is the result of compromise, collaboration, a lot of re-writes and a lot of debate.”

Republican Sen. Joyce Broadsword (in opposition) read a letter from a constituent saying: “You’re not buying technology with this bill. You’re buying a third-rate curriculum.”

Republican Sen. James Hammond: “I’m really struggling with this bill.”

Republican Sen. Dean Cameron: “This bill is completely unnecessary.”

Republican Sen. Chuck Winder: “We have agonized over this many, many hours. We brought a bill to you that deserves your support.”

The measure now heads to the House.

Luna’s previous measures, Senate Bills 1108 and 1110, which gutted collective bargaining and introduced a new merit pay plan for Idaho teachers, previously passed the Senate by 20-15 margins.

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