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IDAHO DEMO LAWMAKERS KEEP CLOSE TIES TO TEACHER UNION

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The close relationship between Democratic lawmakers and the Idaho Education Association remained intact during the 52nd Legislature.

The IEA's biennial evaluation of voting records showed the Democratic minority consistently supporting the teachers group's positions during the 1993 and 1994 sessions while the Republican majority, on average, voted with teachers less than half the time.The association, representing public school teachers throughout the state, uses the voting record on 11 specific issues in deciding which candidates it endorses and campaigns for. The key issues were state aid to public schools, public employee retirement improvements and repealing the property tax for schools so the state would be totally responsible for education financing.

In the Senate, the dozen Democrats with just enough votes to sustain a gubernatorial veto sided with the IEA more than 95 percent of the time on the 11 issues reviewed by the teachers' lobby, while the 23 Republicans agreed with the teachers about 44 percent of the time.

The 20 House Democrats stood by the teachers just over 86 percent of the time. The 50 Republicans averaged under 47 percent.

Democrats have traditionally championed the IEA's push for ever increasing state aid allocations to public education, and they party has been rewarded with substantial cash backing at election time - cash that played a critical role in the sweeping victories Democrats posted in 1990.