INDIANAPOLIS—On Tuesday, Senate Bill (SB) 251 was momentarily defeated after failing to receive a constitutional majority to pass second reading. The bill would have required school employees to reauthorize their union dues annually, placing an unfunded mandate on schools and intentionally creating an obstacle to decrease union members.
Senate Democrats offered compelling arguments on why SB 251 was unnecessary and ill-timed. Senate Assistant Democratic Leader Eddie Melton (D-Gary) released the following response on his opposition to this bill:
“SB 251 is a blatant attack on our Hoosier teachers and unions, and I stand firmly in opposition to this legislation” Sen. Melton said. “Just over a year ago, thousands of teachers showed up to this Statehouse to have their voices be heard on teacher pay and all of the other unfunded mandates that we put on them as a legislature.
“But now we are mandating that schools will have to spend time to annually notify teachers that they can opt out of their own union. A union they know they’re in because they willingly joined. At a time when teachers and schools are already stretched thin, I’m sure a mandate like this would only take resources away from areas that school leaders could be focused on.
“In a time when we’re still battling a pandemic, we shouldn’t be wasting time on this. This bill should not be a focus for this body when we have a budget to pass. This should not be a focus when we still need to address our inadequate school funding formula. There are more important things for the legislature to be focused on.
“Just because we are in a pandemic and people are afraid for their health and safety to come and testify on bills in person, shouldn’t give this body carte blanche to pass special legislation to attack teacher unions.
“I’m thankful that this bill has been temporarily defeated, and I’ll continue fighting for our teachers and working on their behalf.”