Colorado Republican state Rep. Paul Lundeen and Sen. Bob Gardner are proposing a bill that would jail teachers who exercise their First Amendment rights by going on strike.
Teachers in some school districts have gone on strike to call for higher wages and increased state funding of education.
Lundeen and Gardner’s bill, SB18-264, would prohibit public school teacher strikes by authorizing school districts to get an injunction against teacher strikes from a district court, notes KMGH.
If teachers did not obey the injunction, then they could face not only fines and six months in jail.
The bill also tells school districts to fire striking teachers without a proper hearing and bans public school teachers from getting paid “for any day which the public school teacher participates in a strike.”
Mike Johnston, a Democrat who may run for governor in 2018, opposes the bill:
Teachers across the country, from West Virginia and Oklahoma to Arizona and here in Colorado, are speaking up for themselves and their students. We need to listen to teachers now more than ever.
This legislation attempts to silence their voices rather than working to address their concerns. As Governor, I will make sure that teachers are heard, not thrown in jail for exercising their rights.
The Colorado Education Association says teachers spend $656 of their own money for school supplies, while the average teacher salary ranks 46th, according to the National Education Association.
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