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S1179......................................................by STATE AFFAIRS TEACHERS - POLITICAL ACTIVITIES - Adds to existing law to specify political activities which are permitted and political activities which are prohibited for public school district employees; and to provide penalties. 04/07 Senate intro - 1st rdg - to printing 04/08 Rpt prt - to St Aff
|||| LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF IDAHO |||| Fifty-seventh Legislature First Regular Session - 2003 IN THE SENATE SENATE BILL NO. 1179 BY STATE AFFAIRS COMMITTEE 1 AN ACT 2 RELATING TO POLITICAL ACTIVITIES OF PUBLIC SCHOOL DISTRICT EMPLOYEES; AMENDING 3 CHAPTER 66, TITLE 67, IDAHO CODE, BY THE ADDITION OF A NEW SECTION 4 67-6630, IDAHO CODE, TO SPECIFY POLITICAL ACTIVITIES WHICH ARE PERMITTED 5 AND POLITICAL ACTIVITIES WHICH ARE PROHIBITED FOR PUBLIC SCHOOL DISTRICT 6 EMPLOYEES; AND AMENDING CHAPTER 66, TITLE 67, IDAHO CODE, BY THE ADDITION 7 OF A NEW SECTION 67-6631, IDAHO CODE, TO PROVIDE PENALTIES. 8 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Idaho: 9 SECTION 1. That Chapter 66, Title 67, Idaho Code, be, and the same is 10 hereby amended by the addition thereto of a NEW SECTION, to be known and des- 11 ignated as Section 67-6630, Idaho Code, and to read as follows: 12 67-6630. POLITICAL ACTIVITIES PERMITTED -- PROHIBITED. (1) All public 13 school district employees shall retain the right to: 14 (a) Register and vote in any election; 15 (b) Express an opinion as an individual privately and publicly on politi- 16 cal subjects and candidates; 17 (c) Display a political picture, sticker, badge or button; 18 (d) Participate in the activities of a civic, community, social, labor or 19 professional organization, or of a similar organization; 20 (e) Be a member of a political party or other political organization and 21 participate in its activities; 22 (f) Attend a political convention, rally, fundraising function, or other 23 political gathering; 24 (g) Sign a political petition as an individual; 25 (h) Make a financial contribution to a political party or organization; 26 (i) Take an active part, in support of a candidate, in an election; 27 (j) Be politically active in connection with a question which is not spe- 28 cifically identified with a political party, such as a constitutional 29 amendment, referendum, approval of a municipal ordinance or any other 30 question or issue of a similar character; 31 (k) Serve as an election judge or clerk, or in a similar position to per- 32 form duties as prescribed by state or local law; 33 (l) Be a candidate and hold elective office in any partisan or nonparti- 34 san election; 35 (m) Take an active part in political organization management; and 36 (n) Otherwise participate fully in public affairs, except as prohibited 37 by law, in a manner which does not materially compromise the neutrality, 38 efficiency, or integrity of the employee's public school district. 39 (2) The board of trustees of a public school district may: 40 (a) Allow public school facilities to be used for purposes that are edu- 41 cational, cultural, recreational, civic, or of a general political nature; 42 (b) Permit the use of school facilities by political parties for the 43 express purpose of precinct meetings and county and district meetings, 2 1 provided that the use of such buildings by political parties shall not be 2 permitted at times when school is in session or which would interfere with 3 normal school activities or functions, and such use shall be subject to 4 reasonable policies adopted by the school board of trustees. A reasonable 5 charge for heating, lighting and janitorial services for use of public 6 school facilities may be made; 7 (c) Permit the use of facilities for the use of a forum under the control 8 of the board of trustees if the forum is made available to all sides on an 9 equitable basis. 10 (3) A public school district or an employee of a public school district, 11 shall not: 12 (a) Use or allow the use of personnel, technology or telecommunications 13 systems, equipment, materials, buildings or any other asset belonging to 14 the public school district for the purpose of urging the support or defeat 15 of any ballot measure or candidate. Notwithstanding this section, a school 16 district may distribute informational reports on a proposed budget over- 17 ride election, or informational pamphlets on a proposed bond election if 18 done in a fair, neutral and balanced manner. Nothing in this subsection 19 precludes a school district from reporting on official actions of the gov- 20 erning board; 21 (b) Use children in public school as couriers of information that is 22 designed to support or defeat any ballot measure or candidate; 23 (c) Use the authority of their positions to influence the vote or politi- 24 cal activities of any subordinate employee. 25 (4) The state board of education shall adopt rules for the implementation 26 of this section. 27 SECTION 2. That Chapter 66, Title 67, Idaho Code, be, and the same is 28 hereby amended by the addition thereto of a NEW SECTION, to be known and des- 29 ignated as Section 67-6631, Idaho Code, and to read as follows: 30 67-6631. POLITICAL ACTIVITIES -- PENALTIES. (1) Any person who violates 31 the provisions of section 67-6630, Idaho Code, shall be liable for a civil 32 fine not to exceed two hundred fifty dollars ($250) if an individual, and not 33 more than two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500) if a person other than an 34 individual. The burden of proof for such civil liability shall be met by show- 35 ing a preponderance of the evidence. 36 (2) Any person who knowingly and willfully violates section 67-6630, 37 Idaho Code, is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, in addition to 38 the fines set forth in subsection (1) of this section, may be imprisoned for 39 not more than six (6) months or be both fined and imprisoned. 40 (3) The attorney general or the appropriate prosecuting attorney may 41 prosecute any violations of this act. 42 (4) Prosecution for violation of this act must be commenced within two 43 (2) years after the date on which the violation occurred. 44 (5) Venue for prosecution under the provisions of this section shall be 45 in the county of residence of the defendant if the defendant is a resident of 46 the state of Idaho, otherwise venue shall be in Ada county.
STATEMENT OF PURPOSE RS 13211C1 This bill arises out of allegations expressed during the last general election that inappropriate political campaign activity occurred in the public school system. This legislation clarifies what most citizens assumed to be the law. The bill guarantees to public school teachers and employees various rights and privileges, i.e., to vote, to express opinions, to display political materials, to participate in civic and professional organizations, to be a member of a political party, to attend political meetings, to be involved in political campaigns, to hold elective office, and to participate in public/partisan affairs in a manner which does not compromise the neutrality and efficiency of the school district. This legislation also places in Idaho Code a prohibition that public school teachers and district employees may not urge the support or defeat of any candidate or ballot measure while they are at work, and they may not use the facilities and assets of the school district to engage in partisan political activities. Additionally, the local school district may allow its facilities to be used after hours for political meetings, for forums and debates, and for all normal school district business including elections and information distribution regarding override and bond elections. The State Board of Education is charged with adopting rules to implement this act.FISCAL IMPACT There will be no fiscal impact on the general fund of the state. This legislation allows school districts to charge a reasonable fee for after-hours use of their facilities by political organizations. Contact Name: Senator Monty Pearce Representative Lawerence Denney Phone: (208) 332-1000 STATEMENT OF PURPOSE/FISCAL NOTE S 1179