Governor Not Ready to Endorse Collective Bargaining Ban

House Speaker Beth Harwell has indicated she’s willing to support repeal of teachers union collective bargaining powers so long as local school boards are required to seek teacher input on decisions that affect them. But Gov. Bill Haslam wouldn’t say Tuesday whether he feels the same.

“I actually have still not seen their amendment… it’s hard to say a whole lot more until I see it,” the governor said Tuesday. Nevertheless, on Monday he told reporters he “likes the concept.”

Republicans have been split over the idea of a collective bargaining repeal. More conservative members of the GOP are backing the ban while moderates have straddled the fence and favored restricting collective bargaining to base pay and some benefits — a compromise crafted by the governor, Harwell and a few others.

However, Harwell said last week that she may abandon that proposal and instead embrace the Senate’s bill that repeals collective bargaining completely — provided language is added mandating school districts hold teacher input sessions.

The amendment, which was supposed to be heard this week, will likely be added next week because Senate sponsor Jack Johnson is out of the Legislature all week due to a death in the family.