Featured NewsTracker Tax and Budget

No-Bid Contracts Worrisome to Some State Lawmakers

State lawmakers from both parties are expressing concern that taxpayer interests aren’t adequately safeguarded when public contracts are inked with private firms without first submitting jobs to competitive bidding.

Lebanon Republican state Rep. Mark Pody, who was backed up by Rep. Brenda Gilmore, D-Nashville, said this week during a Joint Fiscal Review Committee hearing that the state ought open up more of its contracts to market competition.

“I don’t think (noncompetitive bidding) is in the taxpayer’s best interest. They needed to go through the competitive system and have it competitively bid,” Pody said.

At a minimum, any single-source contract ought to raise a “red flag” and should be earnestly probed by the Fiscal Review Committee, the Lebanon lawmaker added.

Gilmore agreed. “We may be saving money but we need to know why,” she said.

Committee Chairman Bill Ketron, a Murfreesboro Republican who chairs the state Senate’s majority-party caucus, joined the call for more information on noncompetitive contracts.

Pody brought the issue to the forefront Monday afternoon during the joint committee’s monthly meeting, when it was considering a contract extension with Xerox to provide services for the International Fuel Tax Agreement. IFTA is described on the state’s website for trucking commerce as “a tax collection agreement by and among the 48 contiguous States and Canadian provinces bordering the United States to simplify the reporting and collecting motor fuel use taxes used by motor carriers operating in more than one jurisdiction.”

Phillip Mize, the state Department of Revenue’s chief financial officer, explained that Xerox offers one of six commercial products that help commercial fleets and states track fuel taxes owed to other jurisdictions.

Mize defended the contract by saying Xerox is the “most mature product” and controls 45 percent of the market. He also said the state negotiated a 5 percent discount, totaling $420,000, over the previous contract.

After the meeting, Pody said the contract may well provide a savings for the state, but without it being competitively bid, there is no way to know for certain. He said it is worrying there are five other providers available on the market, but the contract was not offered the same bid process as other state-awarded contracts.

“I think that anything that is competitively bid, even if it ends up here, would be a lot more transparent,” Pody said before voting against moving the contract out of committee. The contract with Xerox passed 15-1, with Pody casting the sole dissenting vote.

The committee approved another proprietary contract Monday, but it was explained that no other company provides the service.


Youth Head-Injury Bill Clears Legislature

Legislation that would establish guidelines for addressing concussion injuries among young Tennessee organized-sports participants has cleared the General Assembly and is headed to the governor’s desk. 

Senate Bill 882 was substituted for HB867 in House Thursday. The measure passed in both chambers by overwhelming majorities – 90-3 in the House, 30-0 last month in the Senate.

“What this does is protect youth who are injured in sports with concussions,” Rep. Cameron Sexton, sponsor of the House bill, told the lower chamber Thursday. “Unfortunately, right now, there’s a lot of people in the United States and in Tennessee who do not know what a concussion looks like.”

The Crossville Republican said the bill would require any youth athletic program to establish concussion policies that include what information is given to all parties, as well as how to evaluate athletes suspected of suffering from such injuries.

The bill covers public or private elementary, middle and high schools, as well as “any city, county, business or non-profit organization that organizes a community-based youth athletic activity for which an activity fee is charged.”

“TSSAA [Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association] has had this policy in effect for the last three years,” Sexton said. “We’re just mirroring their policy for all youth sports in the state of Tennessee.”

In addition, all coaches, whether employed or volunteer, as well as school athletic directors and directors of community-based youth athletic programs would be required to complete an annual safety program on recognizing concussions and head injuries.

Sexton said the Tennessee Department of Health will develop the Internet-based course that will be free for users. It will include a “concussion signs and symptoms checklist” from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

If Gov. Bill Haslam signs the legislation into law, Tennessee would join 42 other states and the District of Columbia in having such provisions on the books, which received praise only from the Democrats’ side of the aisle.

Democratic House Leader Craig Fitzhugh of Shipley joined Rep. Dennis Powell of Nashville and Rep. G.A. Hardaway of Memphis in commending the sponsor for bringing the bill.

Fitzhugh praised “a good bipartisan effort,” while Powell, who noted that he “suffered several concussions” while playing high school and college football, said he wished the law had been in place then.

Hardaway added that from his experience in coaching four youth sports, “there are instances where ignorance is a dangerous thing, especially in an authority figure that’s exercising the control over our children.”

However, others cautioned that legislating such policies is not necessarily a good thing.

Republican Rep. Mark Pody told the sponsor that while it’s a good bill, “I always have to ponder why we’re continuing to tell the locals what they have to do.”

The Lebanon representative, along with fellow Republicans Rep. David Alexander of Winchester and Rep. Andy Holt of Dresden, voted against the bill.

“I think there’s good merit for the bill,” Holt told after the session. “But I think the bill did dabble into a little bit too much of a mandating sense. We can’t mandate everything about every potential liability that’s out there.

“I think that parents are smart enough. I think coaches and trainers are smart enough, and well positioned in addressing these issues without us having to file a piece of legislation that mandates it.”

Amelia Morrison Hipps may be reached at, on Twitter @CapitolNews_TN or at 615-442-8667.

Featured News Tax and Budget Transparency and Elections

Retiring, Defeated Lawmakers on Taxpayer-Funded Getaway

Updated Aug. 7, 2012: Sen. Roy Herron called and said he had planned to attend the conference but decided against it due to a family emergency.

Six Tennessee legislators leaving the General Assembly this year are expected in Chicago this week on what could amount to a taxpayer-funded junket.

Four retiring legislators and two state reps who lost their bids for re-election in last week’s primary have given the state notice they plan to get reimbursed for attending the National Conference of State Legislatures annual summit in the Windy City that began Monday, a trip that could cost as much as than $2,500 in registration, airfare, hotel stay, per diem and cab rides.

They are Rep. Richard Montgomery, R-Sevierville, and Rep. Jeanne Richardson, D-Memphis, who lost their primaries, and retiring lawmakers Sen. Mike Faulk, R-Church Hill; Rep. Bill Harmon, D-Dunlap; Sen. Roy Herron, D-Dresden; and Rep. Jimmy Naifeh, D-Covington.

One of the General Assembly’s highest-ranking Republicans says he trusts that the departing lawmakers have good reasons behind their decisions to make the trip.

“I know it will be beneficial to the others who attend to get the benefit of their wisdom and their years of service,” said Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris, R-Collierville. “I think discretion is the better part of valor with these things, and obviously they’ve exercised their discretion and think it’s fine to go. I’m not passing judgment on it.”

Legislators are permitted to let taxpayers foot the bill for out-of-state legislative trips, complete with a per diem, travel and lodging expenses. Even outgoing lawmakers are entitled, said Connie Ridley, director of Tennessee’s office of Legislative Affairs.

“Members of the General Assembly serve as a legislator until the general election in November,” Ridley said in an email. “They are no longer eligible for compensation of any form the evening before the November general election.”

Richardson says she may have lost her primary election, but she still has legislative responsibilities to handle at the conference.

“I signed up because I am one of the representatives, there’s just a couple of us, who represent Tennessee on the Health Committee,” she said. “These are working committees where we share what we’ve done, and find out what other states have done and make policy recommendations for states. So, because I represent Tennessee on the health committee, I still need to come to the meeting.”

Attempts to reach Montgomery for comment were unsuccessful.

A handful of retiring lawmakers are also on the trip, including Naifeh and Faulk, according to their offices. Herron and Harmon’s offices did not respond to requests for comment.

Legislators can collect a $173 per diem each of the four days of the conference, for $692 total. Registration to the NCSL event ranges from $549 to $690, depending on when lawmakers registered for the conference online. Guests were encouraged to reserve rooms in downtown Chicago with rates ranging from $199 to $227 a night if locked in prior to Aug. 1. Lawmakers can also be reimbursed for airfare, which runs about $300 roundtrip, and cab rides, which average between $25 to $42 from the airport to the convention site.

If lawmakers decide against splitting hotels and cab fare, the cost to taxpayers could approach almost $2,500 for the four-day, three-night trip.

But no money has left the taxpayers’ pocket yet, Ridley said. Lawmakers will have to submit receipts to have their travel expenses paid for once they return, although the conference’s registration will be billed directly to the state.

While the practice is legal and learning how other state legislatures are tackling difficult policy issues is valuable, sending outgoing lawmakers on an out-of-town trip is still “questionable,” said Dick Williams, chairman of Tennessee Common Cause, a government accountability advocacy group.

“I have mixed feelings about the appropriateness of those going who will not be coming back, whether by the election or their own choice,” he said. “If they’re going to continue to do something in public life, they could make good public use of that.”

Here are the other 22 lawmakers slated to attend, according to the office of Legislative Administration:

House of Representatives

Rep. Vince Dean, R-East Ridge

Rep. John DeBerry, D-Memphis

Rep. Lois DeBerry, D-Memphis

Rep. Jeremy Faison, R-Cosby

House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh, D-Ripley

Rep. Sherry Jones, D-Nashville

Rep. Mark Pody, R-Lebanon

Rep. John Ragan, R-Oak Ridge

Rep. Bob Ramsey, R-Maryville

House Finance Committee Chairman Charles Sargent, R-Franklin

Rep. Johnny Shaw, D-Bolivar

Rep. Mike Sparks, R-Smyrna

Rep. Curry Todd, R-Collierville

Rep. Joe Towns, D-Memphis

Rep. Mike Turner, D-Old Hickory


Sen. Stacey Campfield, R-Knoxville

Sen. Ophelia Ford, D-Memphis

Sen. Thelma Harper, D-Nashville

Senate Minority Leader Jim Kyle, D-Memphis

Sen. Steve Sutherland, R-Morristown

Sen. Reginald Tate, D-Memphis

Sen. Bo Watson, R-Hixson

Health Care Liberty and Justice Press Releases

Wilson County Legislators Scoff at Supreme Court Health Care Ruling

Statement from Senator Mae Beavers, R-Mt. Juliet; Rep. Linda Elam, R-Mt. Juliet; and Rep. Mark Pody, R-Lebanon; June 28, 2012: 

( WILSON COUNTY, TN) June 28, 2012 – Three Tennessee lawmakers who have fought tirelessly over the past two years to thwart the implementation of “Obamacare” in the state of Tennessee were disappointed by the United States Supreme Court’s decision today which declared the massive and unprecedented law passed by Congress in 2010 as constitutional.

“I am disappointed in the Court’s ruling today,” said Sen. Mae Beavers, Chairman of Senate Judiciary Committee and sponsor of the Tennessee Health Freedom Act (SB 79) which became law in 2011. “I still believe that punishing a Tennessean for failing to purchase a particular product that the federal government believes they must purchase simply for being a citizen is an action that would make our forefathers turn over in their graves. Thankfully, the Court seemed to agree with me and Rep. Elam and Rep. Pody on the Commerce Clause issue, which should prove helpful in future policy debates, even if they found the health care act constitutional on tax grounds.”

Rep. Linda Elam expressed similar concerns this past year, and sponsored and passed HJR 614, a resolution calling for a return to the original meaning of the Constitution’s Commerce Clause. Rep. Elam also fought tirelessly against bills which sought to expand federal power and limit the freedoms of Tennesseans.

“As an attorney and a defender of the Constitution, I am disappointed that the Supreme Court upheld Obamacare, but am grateful that they seemed to interpret the Commerce Clause to more accurately reflect the true intent of our Constitution,” said Rep. Elam. “It was an honor to work on such an important piece of legislation last year; now I hope that Congress will overturn Obamacare, and I look forward to working to lower health care costs in a constitutional and appropriate way for Tennesseans, increasing choice and keeping the quality of our medical care the best in the world.”

Fellow Wilson County lawmaker and and House sponsor of the Health Care Compact (HB 369), Rep. Mark Pody, also expressed disappointment over the Court’s decision, but expressed optimism that the ruling would pave the way for states to work together in offering more affordable health care choices to its citizens, in particular their ruling regarding the Medicaid provision of the act.

“I hope that today’s important ruling lets the federal government know that they still do not have free reign when it comes to their power, and that our great country will not see its health care system fall the way of Europe and other counties who have witnessed the horrors associated with socialist systems,” said Rep. Pody.

Sen. Beavers, who was the Senate sponsor of the Commerce Clause resolution and Health Care Compact bill, which sought to allow member states to work together to lower the costs of health care, expressed appreciation for all of the various states who joined the lawsuit, as well as those legislators who voiced opposition to “Obamacare.”

“I hope we can pass the Health Care Compact next year in Tennessee, and I look forward to working with Rep. Elam, Rep. Pody and other conservative lawmakers who hope to lower health care costs and raise quality in an efficient and constitutional manner,” said Sen. Beavers.

Featured News Tax and Budget

Curtiss, Burks Absent Most UCDD Board Meetings

Two Tennessee state lawmakers partly responsible for helping oversee the scandal-gripped Upper Cumberland Development District can count on one hand the number of board meetings they’ve collectively attended in the last two years.

Attendance records for meetings of UCDD’s Board of Directors and its Executive Committee dating back to 2010 show that Rep. Charles Curtiss attended one meeting in that time and Sen. Charlotte Burks made two appearances.

“We can’t always break loose” from prior engagements to attend UCDD meetings, Curtiss, D-Sparta, said in his Capitol Hill office during a recent interview with TNReport.

“They have a lot of meetings while I’m here. I’m still earning a living, so when they decide to have a meeting at 10 o’clock or 11 o’clock in the day or 1 o’clock in the afternoon, a lot of times I’m on the job, and I can’t just walk off the job,” he said.

Curtiss and Burks have served on the board since they were elected to the General Assembly in the 1990s. They say they see themselves more as liaisons between the Legislature and UCDD than full-fledged board members, who are responsible for ensuring that the development agency faithfully executes its mission of helping the poor and improving the region’s economic outlook.

The Upper Cumberland Development District encompasses 14 counties in eastern Middle Tennessee consisting of 5,000 square miles and containing a population of 338,000 people. UCDD’s website submits that the agency is “always on the lookout for new, creative ways to serve our area.”

UCDD’s executive director, Wendy Askins, and her deputy, Larry Webb, were recently placed on administrative leave after a WTVF NewsChannel 5 investigation revealed Askins had moved in to the agency’s million-dollar “Living the Dream” assisted living facility for needy seniors.

NewsChannel 5’s UCDD series raised questions not just about the “Living the Dream” facility, but management of the agency in general. UCDD doled out thousands of dollars for campaign events, booze, personal gifts and other potentially suspicious reimbursements under Askins’ leadership, WTVF reported.

After the WTVF “Living the Dream” story first broke last month, UCDD board members who previously voted for or vocally defended taxpayer-spending on the plush estate — or signed off on other curious agency spending — claimed they were duped into acquiescence by Askins and a UCDD auditor, whom board members now allege was incompetent.

Curtiss has missed every meeting since 2010 except this year’s Jan. 19 meeting, where board members voted to revise the official minutes from a previous meeting which occurred on Feb. 16, 2010 regarding discussions they’d had about the “Living the Dream” project. Curtiss was one of 16 members who voted “yes” on the revisions, which involved retroactively approving $300,000 for “Living the Dream,” even though he wasn’t at the 2010 meeting in question.

A number of Tennessee lawmakers are now calling for a thoroughgoing probe of UCDD by state auditors. The situation is raising concerns among lawmakers that this board, and possibly others like it, risk being poor stewards of government money and deserve focused legislative investigation as well. Comptroller Justin Wilson’s office would not confirm or deny if an investigation is in fact formally underway.

At least one lawmaker who favors a critical examination of UCDD’s dealings and direction of late says he believes membership on any taxpayer-funded agency or organization’s board carries with it a solemn duty to keep vigilant for potential misuse of public funds.

“There is a problem, and I want to find out what the root of it is and fix it,” said Rep. Mark Pody. The Lebanon Republican said the UCDD scandal has left “a bad taste in my mouth.”

Curtiss and Burks count themselves among those who want to see the state Comptroller start regularly auditing the agency. They’re also calling for a legislative study of the UCDD board’s activities and a look into similar public agencies that oversee millions of taxpayer dollars.

Pody said he isn’t necessarily looking to lay blame for UCDD’s woes on Curtiss and Burks’ absences. “I’m not going to comment good or bad on either one,” he said.

“But I will say that if it’s a situation where they can’t be on the board, we probably need to find other people that can,” Pody told TNReport. He said it may be necessary to “reconstitute” UCDD’s board and appoint members who “can and are willing to ask the hard questions.”

Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver is presently pushing a bill that would boot members from the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Commission if they miss more than four meetings in a year, an idea she says should be replicated throughout all state boards and commissions.

Asked if that should apply to UCDD, Weaver said, “Very much so.”

“If you’re going to serve on these boards, you basically are saying to the people (that) you know a lot of what’s going on,” said the Lancaster Republican, whose legislative district includes part of the Upper Cumberland Development District.

Weaver continued, “To just not go because you don’t feel like it, or something else (came up) you think is a priority, other than death or sickness, then maybe you should re-evaluate your service, and say, ‘You know, I’d probably ought not do this, because I’m not serving the commission justice, and I’m certainly not serving the people that I serve justice’.”

In the last two years, Burks has attended only the UCDD’s annual meetings held in June. At the 2010 meeting, gubernatorial candidates Zach Wamp, a Republican, and Mike McWherter, a Democrat, shared their visions for Tennessee to the group. In 2011, the meeting Burks attended involved a visit from the state Department of Economic and Community Development’s assistant commissioner talking about the Haslam administration’s job-growth priorities.

“I think it’s not the make-up of the board — it’s just when the board doesn’t know something that’s going on, how can they confront it if it wasn’t brought before them or they had no knowledge of the things that were going on?” said Burks, whose late husband, Sen. Tommy Burks, was also a UCDD board member.

The full UCDD board is made up of 62 people, mostly county executives and city mayors from the 14-county region. The executive committee is made up of half of that and, according to its bylaws, must include a member from both chambers of the General Assembly.

“A lot of people on the board rarely ever come to a meeting. They’re members, and they have a vote, but other than that, they don’t really come very much,” said UCDD’s interim executive director, Earl Carwile.

Alex Harris contributed to this report.

Press Releases

Pody: Cumberland Center Development Shows ‘Just How Vibrant’ Lebanon Is

Press Release from Rep. Mark Pody, R-Lebanon; Oct. 5, 2011:

Representative Mark Pody Releases Statement About New Cumberland Center Plan

(October 5, 2011, NASHVILLE) – At a press conference earlier today, it was announced that the City of Lebanon is embarking on an ambitious new development that could potentially bring thousands of jobs to the area. The project is known as the “Cumberland Center,” a 700-acre entertainment district that will feature office space, retail shopping locations, and restaurants.

Following the announcement, Representative Mark Pody (R—Lebanon) released the following statement:

“This is a great move for Lebanon; one that will potentially bring thousands of new employment opportunities to our community. It is exciting that Wilson County is at the forefront of innovation and job creation in our State with a project like this. This concept shows just how vibrant and strong our city is and I am committed to doing all that I can to help usher it forward.”

Education Featured News

GOP Moderates Mull Collective Bargaining Compromise, Tea Party Pressure

About 20 “waffling” House Republicans are on a Tennessee Tea Party do-email list for refusing to take a strong public stand on one of this session’s dominating issues: teachers’ union collective bargaining.

The loose network of conservative activists sent out an “action alert” Monday morning encouraging Tennesseans sympathetic to their cause to pressure middle-of-the-road Republicans to get on board with conservative efforts to ban collective bargaining for public school teachers.

“We are instructed that we have 47 confirmed House members who want to see collective bargaining ended and will support the original version. We need 50 (+ 2-3) for a majority,” according to the Tennessee Tea Party email blast. “We also need to be aware that Senator Ron Ramsey will appoint the more conservative of the Senators to the conference and Representative Beth Harwell will likely appoint the weaker of their members. Rep Harwell is in lockstep with Governor Haslam, who has proved himself weak on a variety of issues confronting our state.”

The email encouraged recipients “to apply heavy pressure” to GOP lawmakers deemed soft on the collective bargaining ban, or who “have varying degrees of allegiance to the unions” and may be “tied to and closely related to the (Tennessee Education Association).”

Teacher collective bargaining has been a focal point of controversy this legislative session since Republicans introduced bills to revoke unions’ leverage to negotiate on behalf of their school district’s educators.

Despite the attention, several of the lawmakers on the Tea Party’s list say they’re still in no hurry to stake out a position. Another who spoke to TNReport Monday indicated that while he favors limiting the reach and scope of collective bargaining, he’s not supportive of prohibiting it.

“I generally don’t take a firm stand on a bill until it’s completed, especially if there’s a great chance it’s going to be amended,” said Rep. Vince Dean, an East Ridge Republican, who added that the legislation still has a long way to go before becoming law.

Mountain City Republican Rep. Scotty Campbell said he’s avoided taking a position on the issue up to now because that’s what Gov. Bill Haslam has done.

“I was trying to follow his lead, and I think that was the commendable thing to do on this issue in particular,” said Campbell. “I didn’t campaign on it, it wasn’t part of my agenda and I think there are bigger matters facing us, like the economy, jobs, and the need to pass a balanced budget, which we of course have to do.”

Rep. Mark Pody, R-Lebanon, said he’s in the process of informally polling teachers in his district to see whether or not they favor union collective bargaining. So far, Pody said he’s found that about about 60 percent of teachers in his district favor collective bargaining and 40 percent don’t care.

Asked whether he thinks unions are a positive influence in education, Pody said, “That’s exactly why I am going to the schools — to see what is best for the students.”

Currently, teachers in 91 of the state’s 136 school districts are unionized. Under the Education Professional Negotiations Act of 1978, local school boards are required to engage in collective bargaining with a teachers’ union if a simple majority of educators employed by the district demand it.

Senators are waiting to vote on a bill to eliminate mandatory collective bargaining, SB113, which would repeal the 1978 law that gave teachers the negotiation leverage.

Advocates of collective bargaining repeal, mostly Republicans, say the system has been used over time to block education reform and protect bad or mediocre teachers. Democrats and teachers’ union leaders say the GOP’s effort to do away with collective bargaining is “political payback” against unions refusing to financially support Republican candidates.

However, House Republican leaders last week introduced a modest “compromise” amendment that, instead of doing away entirely with collective bargaining, would block unions from negotiating a handful of issues — in particular, merit pay for teachers who teach in particularly challenging subjects or classroom environments. The House GOP plan would also make it easier for teachers to dissolve their local union.

The House GOP’s more modest proposal isn’t supported by TEA or the tea parties — or for that matter Senate Republicans.

Democrats and union lobbyists are complaining they they were closed out of the behind-the-scenes talks that produced the amended bill. Conservative activists “are popping vessels over the idea of a compromise amendment,” said Tami Kilmarx, president of the Tennessee Tea Party.

The new version could make it easier for lawmakers like Rep. Richard Floyd to vote for limiting union power without having to be seen voting against the ability of teachers to unionize.

“Do I support the right of union people to bargain? I certainly do, that is their right,” said the Chattanooga Republican. However, he added, taxpayers have rights, too — as do some teachers who don’t want to be involved in unions and “have been intimidated by the TEA.”

The House GOP’s amended bill addresses both the potential for union and collective bargaining abuses, but “is not anti-teacher legislation,” said Floyd.

“Do I support the bill that is out there now? I sure do,” he said.

A hearing is scheduled on the House’s new version in the education committee today. Here’s a rundown of the bill’s current elements:

  • Teachers unions can no longer negotiate on behalf of members on the district’s management team, which is defined as employees who devote a majority of their time to the system-wide management of personnel matters, fiscal affairs or general management. That group also includes principals, assistant principals, supervisors and others primarily charged with administrative duties.
  • The union could not negotiate merit pay and other incentive programs like stipends or extra benefits in exchange for employee performance or to attract teachers to hard to staff schools and subject areas.
  • Neither could they officially weigh in on how grants or awards from the state, local or federal government, foundations or private organizations be spent.
  • Educator evaluations would not be subject to negotiation.
  • Salaries, benefits, staffing and policies relating to virtual and innovative education programs such as partnerships with local colleges or technology centers allowed under state law would not be negotiable.
  • Also off the table are personnel decisions such as filling vacancies, assigning educators to specifics schools, positions, professional duties, transfers within the school system, layoffs and reductions in force and recalls.
  • The union would no longer be able to negotiate payroll deductions.
  • Personnel decisions could no longer be based on seniority.
  • Agreements between the school district’s board of education would have to be given to all educators — regardless of their membership with the union — and require a ratification or rejection to be agreed to.
  • A majority vote of eligible teachers would be needed to install a union in a school district. Previously, only a majority of voting educators was required.
  • Thirty percent of educators instead of 50 percent are needed to call for a vote in order to dissolve the union. However, a majority vote of educators is still needed to actually remove the union.
  • New teachers unions must prove after about a year that a majority of educators are full dues-paying members.
  • Makes it illegal for the union to coerce or try to intimidate educators who do not join the union.