Friday, July 15, 2011

FYI Reforms

Education --AB 220, AB 222, AB 224, AB 225, AB 229, AB230, AB 233, SB 197:
• Extends probationary status of teachers from one to three years
• Requires—for the first time--- probationary status and evaluations of school administrators to hold principals and other school administrators accountable for their performance
• Establishes a pay-for-performance system for teachers and principals
• Makes it easier to dismiss an educator for egregious misconduct
• Establishes a Teachers and Leaders Council to reform the educator evaluation system, using a four-tier process rather than a simple satisfactory/unsatisfactory standard
• Requires reporting on number of teachers, administrators and support staff in each district and school
• Revises the criteria for decisions about layoffs of educators to include more than seniority
• Requires 50% of an educator’s evaluation to be based on student achievement
• Requires that criteria for an alternative route to license be established to broaden the scope of professionals who can be hired to teach in today’s classrooms
• Gives the governor the authority to appoint the Superintendent of Public Instruction from a list submitted by the State Board of Education, with the superintendent then reporting to the governor
• Changes the State Board of Education from a totally elected body to one in which four of the voting members are elected by congressional district and three voting members are appointed
• Gives school districts flexibility in helping students who are credit deficient to catch up and graduate, while requiring them to meet rigorous standards
• Improves parental involvement by coordinating and sharing effective strategies to better communicate with parents and engage them in their children’s education, and creates an office of parental involvement within the Department of Education
• Encourages the Nevada System of Higher Education to examine and revise programs and services on each campus to maximize cost savings and efficiencies

Jobs/Economic Development ---AB 144, AB 182, AB 183 (incorporated into SB 506), AB 449:

• Establishes a bidder’s preference for companies that hire Nevada workers and purchase materials locally to keep jobs funded with taxpayer dollars in our state
• Reorganizes Nevada’s economic development efforts to bring together existing businesses, state and local government, and higher education to attract new high-tech industries to our state
• Authorizes inland ports, geographic areas created by city or county government to accelerate the creation of new jobs and investment through an emphasis on a logistics supply chain
• Reduces the reserve required in school district bond accounts so that more funding can be used for rehabilitation of old schools, creating more construction jobs as schools are repaired.

Government Efficiency, Transparency and Accountability --AB 1, AB 240, AB 242, AB 276, AB 248, AB 404, SB 251(includes language originally in AB 474):

• Requires long-term planning by state agencies and performance-based budgeting resulting in setting of priorities, improvement of existing programs and elimination of programs not producing results
• Requires the periodic review of state boards and agencies to determine those that should be eliminated, consolidated or changed to make them work more efficiently
• Further limits the use of expensive consultants by state government and requires more accountability for all government contracts
• Provides more accountability for leasing or buying of state property
• Establishes a website on state spending
• Requires greater transparency from state agencies and boards on taxes collected and owed, tax abatements, and leases
• Requires greater accountability for spending from nonprofits that receive state spending

Health care (AB 146, AB 280)

• Improves services offered by the Consumer Health Assistance Office by authorizing the director to develop procedures for mediation of disputes between patients and health care providers
• Requires medical facilities to develop and adopt safety checklists for health care providers

Foreclosures (AB 273, AB 284)

• Protects homeowners who got their initial loan from more than one lender from deficiency judgments on the secondary lien if they are living in home and it is not an investment
• Tightens requirements for recording deeds of trust to protect homeowners from mortgage fraud

PERS (AB 405) – Authorizes an objective $500,000 study, with $250,000 paid by the state and $250,000 paid by donations from businesses. The study would only occur upon a sufficient business donation match

PEBP (AB 553) – State employees hired on or after January 1, 2011 would not be eligible for a health insurance subsidy from the state when they retire. The retirement subsidy will continue for current state employees; and the subsidy for active employees will not be affected.

Chapter 288—Collective bargaining (SB 98):
• Subjects of mandatory bargaining under 288.150 must include instances of fiscal emergency that may permit local governments to re-open contracts.
• “Supervisory employees” as defined under 288.075 (supervisors who hire and fire), civil attorneys and physicians/doctors employed by local governments cannot collectively bargain.

Bills Vetoed by the governor that we will continue to pursue

Among the 27 bills vetoed by the governor, were the following--

• to help Nevadans in jeopardy of foreclosure stay in their homes by strengthening our loan modification program (AB 300)

• to require schools in high-poverty areas to provide free school breakfasts for all students, funded by federal dollars (AB 137)

• to help Nevadans make better health care decisions by requiring more accountability from the health insurance industry for their rates and policies (AB 309)

• to require those who work with young children in licensed child care facilities to have additional training in early childhood education (AB 546)

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