'It just wasn't good the way it was written'
Rep. Peter Nehr, R-Palm Harbor, said he likes the intent of SB 6, but couldn’t vote for it because of unanswered questions, potential funding problems and opposition from teachers. “There wasn’t enough concrete specificity in the bill,” Nehr told The Gradebook this morning. “I’ve been around long enough to know if we’re not specific enough about the intent, people come up with their own unique interpretations. I didn’t want to hurt the teachers who are already there.”
"It just wasn't good the way it was written," he added.
Nehr was one of 11 House Republicans who voted no early this morning, making the final vote of 64-55 closer than expected. He was the only Republican member of the Pinellas delegation to do so.
Nehr said he did not want higher degrees completely excluded from salary decisions and feared that existing teacher salaries could be cut given the 5-percent hold back for the performance fund. He also said he was influenced by mounting criticism from teachers, as he would be by an outpouring of opposition on any issue.
“It doesn’t mean I have to do everything a vocal group of people say, but it lights up in my mind there is a specific problem somewhere,” he said. “After reading everything and looking into it, I felt some of their complaints were legitimate.
Nehr said House Republican leadership urged him to vote yes, but did not threaten his bills or committee assignments. “There was a really tremendous amount of pressure, but respectful pressure,” he said. “The pressure was the philosophy of the bill itself was good, and it would be nice if I could go along with the philosophy and we could work out the details later. (But) my problem is, I’ve seen this before … I couldn’t take the chance that there was any misinterpretation.”