published Thursday, March 31st, 2011

Harwell vote keeps teachers' bargaining bill alive

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    Republican House Speaker Beth Harwell speaks to reporters in her office in Nashville, Tenn., after her revised proposal to limit teachers' collective bargaining rights cleared the House Education Subcommittee on Wednesday, March 16, 2011. (AP Photo/Erik Schelzig)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Republican House Speaker Beth Harwell of Nashville has cast a tiebreaking vote to keep a bill curbing teachers' collective bargaining rights alive.

Harwell, who as leader of the chamber can vote on any House panel, on Wednesday broke a 6-6 subcommittee deadlock on the bill sponsored by House Republican Caucus Chairwoman Debra Maggart of Hendersonville.

The House version eliminates areas that teachers can bargain about — like merit pay or evaluation standards — but does not do away with union negotiations altogether like the Senate version. Republican Gov. Bill Haslam has endorsed the House revisions.

Harwell said she made certain to be on hand to support the measure because she knew the vote would be close.

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