First Trickle of News
Probably the most significant item to emerge, thus far, from the legislative appendix underway at the State House was House Majority Leader Gordon Fox’s assurance that binding arbitration for teacher contracts is not going to make a surprise appearance:
Fox confirmed that a proposal to allow binding arbitration in contract disputes with teachers’ unions is dead, at least for now.
“It’s not going to come up in October,” Fox said, minutes before the House session began, while praising recent efforts by the House Labor Committee to examine the issue. “I wouldn’t want to do anything like that. [It would be] a disservice by trying to bum-rush this through.”
It was surely significant that we all — online, on the radio, and on the State House steps — didn’t sigh from relief and look away when binding arbitration didn’t make the initial agenda. Of course, it’s too early to know what has appeared in the flurry of bills, some of them freshly rewritten, that are flying through the legislature’s fingers.
The other hot item is the ban on indoor prostitution, which passed the House by a wide margin.
It’s interesting that only one fewer representative (eight) didn’t bother to vote on the measure than voted against it (nine); notably abstaining were progressive friend Betsy Dennigan and ostensible cultural conservative Peter Palumbo.
Beyond that, we’ve got advancement of Patriots license plates, anti-texting-while-driving legislation, a citizen vote on “plantations” in the state’s name, and compulsory chemical testing by police of drivers involved in serious accidents.
Bill Rappleye and Andrew correct me in the comments section, noting that Dennigan and Palumbo have good reasons for not having voted: The former’s resignation from the General Assembly was effective immediately, so she’s not participating in the two day push, and the latter is home with the flu.