Carson City (Wednesday) February 7, 2001
Assembly called to order at 11:05 a.m.
Mr. Speaker presiding.
All present except Assemblywoman Ohrenschall, who was excused.
Prayer by the Chaplain, Reverend Bruce Henderson.
God, years ago, on a mountaintop, one of your followers exclaimed, “Lord, it is good for us to be here.” Today we are on another mountaintop, and once again, it is good for us to be here. Please be here with us in all that we do. And Father, please be with our Ms. Ohrenschall this morning, who is undergoing surgery even as we meet. We pray in the Name of our Lord.
Pledge of allegiance to the Flag.
Assemblywoman Buckley moved that further reading of the Journal be dispensed with, and the Speaker and Chief Clerk be authorized to make the necessary corrections and additions.
INTRODUCTION, FIRST READING AND REFERENCE
By Assemblymen Dini, de Braga, Hettrick and Parnell:
Assembly Bill No. 73—AN ACT relating to substance abuse; making an appropriation to the administrative office of the courts for the establishment of programs of treatment for the abuse of alcohol or controlled substances in Carson City and Churchill, Douglas, Lyon and Storey counties; and providing other matters properly relating thereto.
Assemblyman Dini moved that the bill be referred to the Concurrent Committees on Judiciary and Ways and Means.
SPECIAL ORDERS OF THE DAY
The hour of 11:15 a.m. having arrived, vetoed Assembly Bill No. 332 of the 70th Session was considered.
Vetoed Assembly Bill No. 332 of the 70th Session.
Governor’s message stating his objections read.
Office Of The Governor
June 11, 1999
The Honorable Dean Heller, Secretary of State, capitol complex, Carson City, Nevada 89701
Dear Secretary Heller:
Attached herewith is Assembly Bill No. 332 of the 1999 legislative session, which I am returning to you within the constitutional limit without my signature and without approval. I am vetoing the bill because it inhibits the removal of poor teachers from the classroom and places and undue and potentially substantial burden on school administrators.
Assembly Bill 332 makes various changes concerning the evaluation of teachers. Among other provisions, the bill requires the evaluation of probationary and post-probationary teachers include a description of the actions that will be taken to assist the teacher in correcting any deficiencies reported in the evaluation. Upon request, the administration must assist the teacher to correct those deficiencies. Similarly, the measure requires that an admonition given to a licensed employee must include a description of the action that will be taken to assist the employee in correcting the deficiencies.
Although these requirements may appear to be commendable, in fact the bill makes the school district and the administrator responsible for the employee’s success or failure—not the employee. A probationary or licensed teacher with a poor evaluation might demand assistance to correct deficiencies, and the bill does not limit that assistance. Requested help might include books, classes, professional development seminars, and unlimited mentoring on listed deficiencies.
Certainly, all of us—state and local officials, administrators, and parents—want to see our teachers, and with them our students, succeed. We believe that helping teachers through meaningful evaluation and reasonable support is appropriate and requisite. Employee evaluations are an invaluable tool to improve the quality of instruction in our schools. Assembly Bill 332, however, imposes unreasonable requirements on administrators, which will make administrators reluctant to offer constructive criticism and serve only to protect probationary employees who simply do not show instructional skills. What is more, the bill will make the removal of a poor teacher from a classroom virtually impossible.
The 1999 Nevada Legislature made many positive changes related to the improvement of education in Nevada. In particular, the funding of teacher centers in certain areas of the state will go far in improving instructional quality. Nevertheless, no one wants to see a poor teacher continue teaching because of a technicality in the evaluation law, and Assembly Bill 332 would allow that to happen.
Kenny C. Guinn
The question was put: “Shall the bill pass, notwithstanding the objections of the Governor?”
Remarks by Assemblymen Anderson, Hettrick and Parnell.
Assemblywoman Buckley requested that the following remarks be entered in the Journal:
During the 1999 Session of this esteemed body AB 332 was introduced, heard, deliberated, amended and passed. This bill received substantial bi-partisan support with only nine votes against it in the Assembly and one “no” vote in the Senate.
Why did AB 332 receive the overwhelming support of the Nevada Legislature? The answer is simple. AB 332 is an education accountability bill that deals with the very important subject of teacher evaluation. In all of the discussions about education accountability going back to the 1997 Session, there was no discussion about the role of administrators and their importance in the evaluation process.
During testimony on AB 332 teachers came forward and talked about their experiences with administrators who somehow managed to write evaluations of their performance without ever having been in their classrooms. AB 332 requires that those charged with the responsibility of conducting evaluations personally observe the performance of the teacher in the classroom for at least one hour during each evaluation period.
Given the criticism from some about bad teachers in the classroom and the call for more accountability, we brought this bill forward to the Legislature and said, “Come in and evaluate us. Please!” Let administrators do the very important work that they are supposed to do—evaluate the performance of teachers after direct observation in the classroom. Let’s stop the practice of “drive by” evaluations. The Nevada Legislature agreed.
First, let me clear up the continuing myth about teacher tenure in Nevada that does not now exist—nor would it exist if this bill had become law. Some are now saying that AB 332 would make it impossible to get rid of bad teachers. Were those of us who voted for this bill in 1999—the 33 of us who voted for it in the Assembly and the 19 who voted for it in the Senate—misinformed about the content of this bill? No. We voted for the bill because it was a good piece of legislation.
As a classroom teacher with 29 years of experience, I know the task of teaching is not easy. I know that the burden of being the educational leader of a school—a mantle that an administrator has—is equally daunting.
By voting to allow AB 332 to pass notwithstanding the Governor’s veto, you will be ensuring that administrators perform one of their most important duties—observing teachers in their classrooms and writing evaluations that are meaningful and productive which will benefit those teachers and the students they serve.
A newly elected member of the United States Senate wrote a book several years ago which she titled—after an old African statement—“It takes a village to raise a child.”. This bill made that statement for the children of Nevada.
I urge your support for AB 332.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise in support of sustaining the Governor’s veto. We’re fortunate in Nevada to have a governor who understands education, who was a teacher, and a superintendent of schools. He understands education. We have a governor who vetoed this bill because he was concerned about what its language does. We were contacted by the two largest school districts in this state, Clark County and Washoe County, and they also expressed concern about what this language does. We are in session; we are here. The Governor has indicated a willingness to work on the good content of this bill and the good intent of this bill, so it can alleviate the concern that he has and that the school districts have. Since we are here, since we have the opportunity to fix this, I believe it is the appropriate thing to do to sustain the Governor’s veto and work on passing the good things that are contained within this bill. Therefore I ask all of you to vote “no” and sustain the Governor’s veto.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I wish to echo all of the comments of Assemblyman Anderson with particular regard to statements made that AB 332 would make it more difficult for a principal to remove an unsatisfactory teacher from the classroom. That is not what the language in this bill would do. Under no circumstances have I ever, or would ever, support any such attempt. I have had the highest of expectations for myself as a classroom teacher as well as for others in my profession. Had it not been for these expectations, I doubt that I would have been selected as the Nevada Teacher of the Year. What this bill does address is a much-needed component for administrative accountability, a much needed addition for school reform efforts in this state. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.
The roll was called, and the Assembly sustained the veto of the Governor by the following vote:
Yeas–Anderson, Arberry, Bache, Buckley, Chowning, Claborn, Collins, de Braga, Dini, Freeman, Giunchigliani, Goldwater, Koivisto, Lee, Leslie, Manendo, McClain, Mortenson, Neighbors, Oceguera, Parks, Parnell, Perkins, Price, Smith and Williams—26.
Nays–Angle, Beers, Berman, Brower, Brown, Carpenter, Cegavske, Gibbons, Gustavson, Hettrick, Humke, Marvel, Nolan, Tiffany and Von Tobel—15.
MOTIONS, RESOLUTIONS AND NOTICES
Assemblywoman Buckley moved that Carson City News: David D. Morgan; Cover Edge: Michele Kane, Kevin Ross; Fox 5: Don Lyle; Las Vegas Sun: Aaron Mayes; Nevada Appeal: Bob Thomas; Reno Gazette-Journal: Bill O’Driscoll be accepted as accredited press representatives, that they be assigned space at the press table in the Assembly chambers and that they be allowed use of appropriate broadcasting facilities.
Assemblyman Dini moved that the action whereby Assembly Bill No. 73 was referred to the Concurrent Committees on Judiciary and Ways and Means be rescinded.
Assemblyman Dini moved that Assembly Bill No. 73 be referred to the Committee on Ways and Means.
Mr. Speaker announced if there were no objections, the Assembly would recess subject to the call of the Chair.
Assembly in recess at 11:29 a.m.
ASSEMBLY IN SESSION
At 11:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker presiding.
REMARKS FROM THE FLOOR
Assemblywoman Buckley requested that the following remarks be entered in the Journal.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I did want to make a remark relative to the offer that my distinguished colleague from Assembly District 39 made, concerning working on the merits of the piece of legislation, AB 332. I believe it is a good faith offer and I take it as such. I believe education remains the most important aspect that this body can do. It is the thing of the future; it is tomorrow. We must be ever vigilant of what we do for the children.
I believe that we will come out of this with a responsibility. I hope to continue to work in this area and I want to thank those people who supported me, and those who have had to deal with the “onion” as it exists—the nature of politics being as it is. I understand that we will work through this, because kids come first.
Signing of Bills and Resolutions
There being no objections, the Speaker and Chief Clerk signed Assembly Resolutions Nos. 1, 2 and 3.
GUESTS EXTENDED PRIVILEGE OF ASSEMBLY FLOOR
On request of Assemblywoman Angle, the privilege of the floor of the Assembly Chamber for this day was extended to Dr. Paul Deiringer, Glenn Reed, Sue Reed and Jim Goebels and Jesse Gutierrez.
On request of Assemblyman Arberry, the privilege of the floor of the Assembly Chamber for this day was extended to John T. Stephens III.
On request of Assemblyman Gustavson, the privilege of the floor of the Assembly Chamber for this day was extended to Al Walker.
On request of Assemblyman Hettrick, the privilege of the floor of the Assembly Chamber for this day was extended to Michele G. Alvarez, Sarah E. Andrews, Brad Butti, Matthew Hill, Janna C. Huffman, Weston A. Knox, Kristy L. Matthews, Shawn C. Salisbury, Romaine T. Smokey, Amber L. Breuer, Daniel Canale, Noel Cruz, Loren D. Hall, Tara Lucido, Matthew Martin, Katherine L. Moore, Krystle L. Moore, Cori Niemann, Amber M. Oglesby, Melissa A. Trent, Christine M. Turnbull, Amanda Ivie and Tracie Hudson.
On request of Assemblyman Lee, the privilege of the floor of the Assembly Chamber for this day was extended to Bert Brown and Cedric Kerns.
Assemblywoman Buckley moved that the Assembly adjourn until Friday, February 9, 2001 at 11:00 a.m.
Assembly adjourned at 11:31 a.m.
Approved: Richard D. Perkins
Attest: Jacqueline Sneddon