Fillmore bills target teacher pay, climate crisis ‘indoctrination,’ pledge of allegiance




    Photo by Gage Skidmore | Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

    Last week marked the first day that lawmakers could begin submitting bills for the upcoming 2020 legislative session and one representative has already submitted more than 30 for lawmakers to consider when they return to the Capitol in January, and he has no plans to slow down. 

    House Education Committee Vice-Chairman John Fillmore, R-Apache Junction, has already submitted a litany of education related bills, including one that would prohibit schools from talking about dating violence and one that would repeal Arizona’s English-only law, an idea he pushed last legislative session. 

    “I’ve submitted a lot, you may need to refresh my memory,” Fillmore said Wednesday when Arizona Mirror called him to ask about the bill to ban schools from having curiculum around dating. During the brief interview, Fillmore added that he has more legislation being drafted. 

    In a Facebook post last week, Fillmore said school consolidation, blocking sex education before grade 6 and finding new sources of funding for schools are among some of his many upcoming legislative priorities. 

    The bills

    Here is a quick rundown of the most interesting of the 33 bills Fillmore has introduced so far. 

    • House Bill 2031 would create a secretive police force called “school marshals,” similar to the federal Air Marshal Service. The school marshals could make arrests and carry handguns on school grounds. Their identities would be exempt from public records, and school officials would be barred from telling anyone – even other school employees – if someone is a marshal. “The school marshal program is an effective alternative for schools that need to enhance their safety and security but have expressed reservations with having school resource officers on campus,” Fillmore said in a statement to AZFamily
    • House Bill 2017 requires that all students from K-12 stand for the daily pledge of allegiance unless they have a note from their parents. It also requires all students to sit in quiet reflection and “moral reasoning” for one minute per day. In 1943, the U.S. Supreme Court found that a West Virginia law requiring students to stand for the pledge violated the First and Fourteenth amendments.
      Courts have differed on how to deal with parents rights over students rights on the issue. A 3rd Circuit federal court in 2004 ruled in favor of a student who didn’t want to stand for the pledge but a different federal court in the 11th circuit in 2008 ruled in favor of the parents who wanted their child to stand.
    • House Bill 2022 would prohibit schools from including any discussion of “economic and social implications” in regards to environmental topics. The bill targets an existing state statute that outlines what schools should teach for environmental education. On Facebook, Fillmore called the current education “indoctrination in global warming.”
    • House Bill 2025 would require school districts to send every teacher and employee a “total compensation report” showing how much they are paid and how much they receive in benefits and retirement contributions. The bill would make those compensation reports a public record; Arizona law currently exempts teacher salaries from public disclosure. 
    • House Bill 2013 would take away the ability of teachers to pass or fail a student.
    • House Bill 2004 would require school districts to get permission from their county board of supervisors and the county schools superintendent to enter into a lawsuit. The bill comes as an Arizona school district has joined a national lawsuit against the popular e-cigarette manufacturer Juul. 
    • House Bill 2009 would allow school teachers to claim a tax credit for up to $800 for supplies they’ve purchased. 
    • House Bill 2010 would require that all students take a course on “personal finances.” Such courses are currently optional.
    • House Bill 2021 would create new fines of up to $10 per day for children who are “habitually truant.” 

    “I’m looking at a whole lot of different issues,” Fillmore told the Mirror when asked what his exact priorities this upcoming session are, adding “I’m very concerned about education and our kids.” 

    Jerod MacDonald-Evoy
    Reporter Jerod MacDonald-Evoy joins the Arizona Mirror from the Arizona Republic, where he spent 4 years covering everything from dark money in politics to Catholic priest sexual abuse scandals. Jerod has also won awards for his documentary films which have covered issues such as religious tolerance and surveillance technology used by police. He brings strong watchdog sensibilities and creative storytelling skills to the Arizona Mirror.