Tuesday, January 31, 2012

PEIP, PEIP. Nope, not a bunch of baby chicks running around the farmyard. Just notice that the House Education Finance Committee heard SF 247 today and passed it on to the House floor. SF 247 (Dahms-R-Redwood Falls)/HF 371 (Hoppe-R-Chaska) regulates movement to the Public Employees Insurance Plan (PEIP) from other plans by employees of local units of government, including school districts. As many of you recall, in the wake of Governor Pawlenty's last veto of Education Minnesota's statewide health insurance pool legislation, a number of teacher locals decided to move their insurance coverage to PEIP from their previous coverage. These unilateral moves by teacher locals caught a number of school districts by surprise, as the move to PEIP sometimes had higher premium costs and changes in coverage for district employees.

To bring greater order to proposed moves by employee locals to PEIP, Senator Dahms and Representative Hoppe introduced their legislation and future moves to PEIP will require both the approval of the employee local and the school board. There is also a provision in the bill that requires service cooperatives to inform affected employee locals before refunding any premium payments to a school board.

The House Education Reform Committee heard Representative Branden Petersen's (R-Andover) HF 1870, a bill that would allow school districts to base leave of absence and discharge of teachers on the results of the teacher evaluation process passed in concept last year whose details are currently being developed by a task force comprised of education stakeholders. Obviously, this bill generated a lot of discussion this morning and the bill was laid over without final action.

The remainder of the week is going to be quite light, as the Legislature is breaking for precinct caucuses (to be held on Tuesday, February 7) on Thursday afternoon and returning next Wednesday. I'll still be writing (as there's a ton to cover even if the Legislature's not meeting), so stay tuned.

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