MEA-MFT Legislative Program

As adopted April 6, 2013 - MEA-MFT Representative Assembly


MEA-MFT supports legislation to:

1. Adequately and equitably fund quality public elementary, secondary, and university system education.

2. Qualify classified public school employees for unemployment compensation when not working.

3. Enhance funding of the k-12 quality educator payment.

4. Expand state-funded voluntary public education opportunities to all pre-k school age children. 

5. Adequately fund “Indian Education for All.”

6. Increase funding for “students at risk” including gifted and talented.

7. Increase funding of adult basic education.

8. Fund incentives for school districts and bargaining units to mutually develop and implement supervision and evaluation systems that include peer mentorship and peer review.

9. Increase state funded stipend for teachers who earn National Board Certification.

10. Develop and fund incentives to encourage school district consolidation.

11. Eliminate the 3-mile limit for state funded reimbursement of k-12 school district transportation costs.

12. Enhance affordable student access to higher education through state-based college scholarship funds and financial aid.

13. Maintain full state funding of the Montana Digital Academy.

14. Mandate compulsory enrollment from age 6 to age 18 or completion of high school diploma or equivalent.

15. Provide state funding for the education of 3, 4, and 5 year old special education students.

16. Maintain gun free schools and campuses.

MEA-MFT opposes legislation to:

17. Amend or repeal Article X, Education and Public Lands, Montana State Constitution.*

* Article X, among other things:
• guarantees equality of educational opportunity, free quality public elementary and secondary schools, public school funding equity;
• recognizes and promises to preserve the distinct and unique cultural heritage of American Indians;
• creates an inviolate public school fund, a board of land commissioners to administer state school lands, and dedicates revenue from the school fund to public education;
• prohibits public aid to sectarian schools;
• prohibits the teaching of sectarian tenants in public schools;
• creates and empowers a state board of education, board of regents, and a board of public education;
• empowers elected local boards of trustees with supervision and control of the schools in their districts.

 18. Invest public revenues in private and/or sectarian schools, including “charter” and home schools.

19. Establish alternatives within the k-12 public school system, including "charter schools,” that do not guarantee equitable student access, teacher licensure and endorsement, employee collective bargaining, and local school district accountability and control.

20. Abolish compulsory school enrollment.

21. Dictate school accreditation and teacher licensure standards, curricula, and methods of instruction.

22. Authorize school districts to license who shall teach.

23. Permit school districts to employ non-licensed persons as professional educators.


MEA-MFT supports legislation to:

24. Adequately fund quality public programs and services.

25. Require adequate staffing ratios at public health care facilities, schools, corrections, and other public services.

26. Prevent degradation of the quality of public programs and services through vacancy savings, temporary employees, unlicensed teachers, emergency hires, and modified positions.

27. Fund state agency budgets formulated as a result of employee contract negotiations.

28. Encourage and invest in quality public services through career ladders and educational opportunities.

29. Provide employer reimbursement to employees for costs  associated with education, licensure, or certification  associated with employment.

30. Reimburse state employees reasonable out-of-pocket expenses incurred while on state business or at mandated state professional development.

31. Prohibit vacancy savings in 24/7 institutions and limit vacancy savings to no more than 3% at state agencies with 100 or fewer full-time employees.

32. Cap at 640 annual hours of work retired public employees may contract for services.

MEA-MFT opposes legislation to:

33. Privatize public programs and services.

34. Limit or deny opportunities for public employees to serve in public office.

35. Cap state employee salaries and/or benefits.


MEA-MFT supports legislation to:

36. Hold private contractors of public funds to the same standards and accountability established for public entities.

37. Require adequate staffing ratios at private residential treatment facilities and privately operated, publicly funded facilities.

38. Provide for increased Medicaid reimbursements for services provided at privately administered facilities.


MEA-MFT supports legislation to:

39. Initiate sustainable state funding of public Head  Start programs.


MEA-MFT supports legislation to:

40. Adopt a Montana specific “employee free choice act.”

41. Require neutrality agreements whenever the state or local governments, including school districts, privatize a public program or service.

MEA-MFT opposes legislation to:

42. Diminish the right and opportunity of all public and private sector employees to organize and bargain collectively. 

43. Establish "right-to-work" or diminish or restrict what it means to be the exclusive bargaining agent empowered to negotiate fair share, representation fee, or agency fee.

44. Prohibit payroll deduction of union dues and fees.


MEA-MFT supports legislation to:

45. Create and maintain a state tax system that is adequate, equitable, balanced, simple, and universal.

MEA-MFT opposes legislation to:

46. Eliminate property taxes or income taxes.


MEA-MFT supports legislation to:

47. Require government entities, including school districts, to make both employer and employee contributions to the appropriate state defined benefit plan for retired part-time employees and/or independent contractors.

48. Share equitably between employer and employee increases in contributions necessary to actuarially fund the Teachers’ and Public Employees’ Retirement systems.

49. Restructure “new-hire” plan changes in the Teachers’ Retirement System to mirror “new-hire” plan changes in the Public Employees’ Retirement System such as but not limited to a 2% multiplier for teachers earning 30 or more years of creditable service.

50. Designate a specific state revenue stream to incrementally reduce unfunded liabilities in the Teachers’ and Public Employee Retirement Systems.

51. Increase state funding of university faculty “optional” retirement plan.

MEA-MFT opposes legislation to:

52. Amend or repeal Article II, Declaration of Rights, Section 31. Ex post facto, obligation of contracts, and irrevocable privileges, that states:
No ex post facto law nor any law impairing the obligation of contracts, or making any irrevocable grant of special privileges, franchise, or immunities, shall be passed by the legislature.

53. Amend or repeal Article VIII, Revenue & Finance, Section 15, Public Retirement System Assets, that states in part:

(1) Public retirement systems shall be funded on an actuarially sound basis. Public retirement system assets, including income and actuarially required contributions, shall not be encumbered, diverted, reduced, or terminated and shall be held in trust to provide benefits to participants and their beneficiaries and to defray administrative expenses.

54. Eliminate public employee defined benefit retirement plans.

55. Reduce or eliminate guaranteed annual benefit adjustments in the Teachers’ and Public Employees’ Retirement Systems.


MEA-MFT supports legislation to:

56. Create a mandatory statewide school employee health care insurance risk pool.

57. Promote and expand school district cooperatives for employee health insurance purposes.

58. Establish a state funded incentive for school employee insurance plans that provide coverage for all school employees working 20 hours or more per week.

59. Create a state-based single payer health care delivery system.


MEA-MFT supports legislation to:

60. Prohibit workplace discrimination based on race, gender, ethnicity, economic status, religion, disability, sexual orientation, gender identification, age, or any other differentiating or minority characteristic.