The first school board related bill is headed to the Governor’s desk, but it’s one with an unclear aim.
Members of the House of Representatives passed Senate Bill 66, which requires school boards to post information related to school district elections within their board minutes, on a 58-9 vote on Thursday (2/1). The House’s passage comes one day after House Education members passed it 12-2.
SB 66 sponsors sold the bill on the House side as a way to increase transparency for and provide information to the public. However, on the Senate side the bill was described as a way to increase voter turnout.
ASBSD opposed the bill with Executive Director Wade Pogany testifying in opposition during the House Education committee hearing that the bill “doesn’t solve the problem” when it comes to “trying to increase voter participation.”
Sen. Jim Bolin, the bill’s prime sponsor, rebutted Pogany’s assertion, saying the bill was an attempt to more easily “inform voters” and increase “transparency” of school board elections.
However, during the Senate Education committee’s hearing on the bill held two weeks previously, Sen. Bolin said he was “concerned about how many people vote in our elections” and wanted SB 66 “to try to encourage more people to vote in these particular elections.”
On the House floor, Rep. Thomas Brunner said the bill “just puts some more information out there in the spirit of transparency” and added it “might spur somebody to get off their behind and vote next time.”
The bill requires school boards to put in their minutes the number of registered voters in the school district, number of individuals who voted in the election, percentage of voters who voted in the election and if the school district election was held in conjunction with municipal election or June primary. If an election was not held, the reason why must be posted.
All information must be posted within 60 days of the election.