Bill taking aim at university collective bargaining advances

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) - A state Senate committee has passed a bill that would end collective bargaining at South Dakota's public universities.

The Senate State Affairs Committee voted 5-4 Monday to advance the legislation to the chamber's floor. It has already passed through the House.

House Speaker Mark Mickelson, the sponsor, says the bill would save money and make the institutions more efficient. He says there's nothing "nimble or adaptive or responsive" about collective bargaining agreements.

Critics say the measure would make it harder for universities to recruit and keep faculty. Democratic Sen. Troy Heinert, an opponent, says the bill is based on a "made-up crisis."

Union contracts cover more than 1,300 staff members at the state's six public universities and at schools for the blind and deaf.

Gov. Dennis Daugaard supports the legislation.

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