Author Topic: Texas Tribune Article re UIL/TASO  (Read 2379 times)

Offline TXMike

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Texas Tribune Article re UIL/TASO
« on: May 04, 2011, 06:08:36 PM »

http://www.texastribune.org/texas-legislature/82nd-legislative-session/lawmakers-may-have-final-say-in-uil-referee-fight/

Lawmakers May Have Final Say in UIL-Referee Fight
 by Julian Aguilar

State lawmakers may have the final say in a dispute between sports officials and the University Interscholastic League that led to fears of a referee lockout before the 2010 high school football playoff season.

In December 2009 the Texas Association of Sport Officials (TASO), a private group whose members referee public school sports activities, filed suit in state district court against the University Interscholastic League after the UIL decided to require association members to register with the state agency before they are allowed to officiate. TASO officials argue their organization is one of the most successful in the country, and boasts former members who have gone on to officiate collegiate bowl games, Super Bowls and NFL conference championships. The sports officials association argues that the registration requirement is a government takeover that would weaken the organization.

Tony Timmons, the UIL’s assistant athletic director, said today the agency could not comment on matters pending before the courts or the legislature. But when the suit was filed, Timmons said that the purpose of registration was “to be able to communicate directly with the officials for purposes of announcement and rule changes.”

The association’s position is now backed by state Rep. Randy Weber, R-Pearland, who filed legislation that would prevent the UIL from registering, attempting to register or charging fees to sports officials as a precondition for contracting with schools to officiate athletic contests. The bill, HB 3028, also prevents the UIL from influencing a school district to choose one official over another, and prevents it from setting rates or fee schedules for officials.

“As I understand it, UIL was basically wanting to take over TASO, which has been around 30 or 40 years,” Weber said of his legislation. “When you’re talking about making judgment calls — sports calls — I think having an independent agency is the best.”

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Matthew Jones, an attorney with the Hance Scarborough firm, which represents TASO, and a high school sports official himself, said Weber’s bill would do what seven judges have been unable to since the fight started: determine what the UIL can and cannot ask sports officials to do. After the case was transferred to a federal court, a federal district judge in November granted an injunction against the UIL after the agency gave association members a Dec. 1 deadline to register or face being locked out.

Since then the case has been remanded back to a state court. Last month, District Judge Rhonda Hurley granted a temporary restraining order that again halted the mandatory registration, citing in her decision that “imminent and irreparable injury will be inflicted upon TASO” if the order was not granted. The UIL was also denied its challenge to the court’s authority to hear the case. Jones said that was an attempt to try to have the cased dismissed altogether. The UIL is appealing that ruling. The next step, Jones said, is to ask the appellate court to grant an injunction to prevent the UIL from forcing association members to register during the appeals process. The current restraining order expires Thursday.

But the UIL has its own options in the state legislature. HB 3694 by state Rep. Pete Gallego, D-Alpine, would let the UIL refuse to certify an official or “suspend or revoke the certification of any sports official” if the official has been convicted of felonies or certain misdemeanors. In essence, it would require background checks for officials, which Jones said “would give the UIL the authority to register officials.”

Gallego said he knows little about the dispute and was not approached by the UIL. Instead, he said, he filed the legislation after learning the state agency has no authority or say over which officials are allowed on school campuses.

“I realized after talking to some of the members that everybody that works around kids in a school can have a background check but the only people that were exempted from that requirement were sports officials,” he said. Gallego has also heard of certain referees bringing alcohol on campuses and other acts unbecoming of sports officials, he said.

Gallego acknowledges he inadvertently weighed in on a fight he has no interest in. But he doesn’t agree with TASO’s assertion that requiring its members to register with the UIL would dissolve the group.

“It may change their organization but it wouldn’t end their organization,” he said. “I don’t have a vested interest one way or another but it seems to me that the way that I wanted to do it in my bill is a reasonable approach, but it’s clearly a controversial approach.”

Weber said he was unaware of any allegations of wrongdoing and agreed officials should act in a manner that sits well with the students, coaches and parents. That said, he still believes TASO should continue to function as a stand-alone unit.

“I want an independent judging agency, something that’s out underneath the umbrella of the UIL,” he said. “I don’t want the fox guarding the henhouse, so to speak.”

Neither bill has been passed out of the House Public Education committee, and the deadline for that to happen is next week. If the bills stall, the courts will ultimately decide the dispute. But Weber, a committee member, said he’s spoken with fellow lawmakers about sending his bill to the House Calendars Committee, which sets the agenda for the House floor. The same could happen with Gallego’s bill, which Jones said may put the matter to rest once and for all.

“If [the legislature] gives them [the UIL] the authority then we probably don’t have much of a lawsuit and if the legislature specifically denies them the authority then I think they may drop their efforts,” he said.

Offline TexDoc

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Re: Texas Tribune Article re UIL/TASO
« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2011, 08:40:01 AM »
"state Rep. Pete Gallego, D-Alpine"

Anyone that doesn't see the connection between this guy and tt is blind or stupid.

Offline TXMike

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Re: Texas Tribune Article re UIL/TASO
« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2011, 08:47:27 AM »
From the article:

But the UIL has its own options in the state legislature. HB 3694 by state Rep. Pete Gallego, D-Alpine, would let the UIL refuse to certify an official or “suspend or revoke the certification of any sports official” if the official has been convicted of felonies or certain misdemeanors. In essence, it would require background checks for officials, which Jones said “would give the UIL the authority to register officials.”

Gallego said he knows little about the dispute and was not approached by the UIL. Instead, he said, he filed the legislation after learning the state agency has no authority or say over which officials are allowed on school campuses.
=================
Inquiring minds want to know....if you were not approached by the UIL, then who DID approach you?


Offline Arbitrator

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Re: Texas Tribune Article re UIL/TASO
« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2011, 01:10:20 PM »
"state Rep. Pete Gallego, D-Alpine"

Anyone that doesn't see the connection between this guy and tt is blind or stupid.
From the article:

But the UIL has its own options in the state legislature. HB 3694 by state Rep. Pete Gallego, D-Alpine, would let the UIL refuse to certify an official or “suspend or revoke the certification of any sports official” if the official has been convicted of felonies or certain misdemeanors. In essence, it would require background checks for officials, which Jones said “would give the UIL the authority to register officials.”

Gallego said he knows little about the dispute and was not approached by the UIL. Instead, he said, he filed the legislation after learning the state agency has no authority or say over which officials are allowed on school campuses.
=================
Inquiring minds want to know....if you were not approached by the UIL, then who DID approach you?



 ^flag

It doesn't exactly take a rocket scientist to deduce that Rep. Gallego represents all of the Alpine innkeepers, including those innkeepers who might be moonlighting over at some quasi-state agency back in Austin over on Manor Road. Now that ought to truly offer marginalization to the set of those Brewster County innkeepers who might have had a motive to even remotely make contact with Rep. Gallego and to offer the wording for some crafty, self-serving legislation.   :!# The Dancing Monkey would never admit to making contact with Rep. Gallego, but I can't help but feel that one certain  :!# Alpine Innkeeper certainly has had both a paw and a motive in doing it!   

The Weber option is doable. Gallego's legislation should be DOA!   z^

Offline Dr.G

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Re: Texas Tribune Article re UIL/TASO
« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2011, 03:03:27 PM »
“I realized after talking to some of the members that everybody that works around kids in a school can have a background check but the only people that were exempted from that requirement were sports officials,” he said. Gallego has also heard of certain referees bringing alcohol on campuses and other acts unbecoming of sports officials, he said.

This statement by Rep. Gallego shows how ignorant he is of Texas ISDs when he makes a statement like that. I have served on an ISD school board for multiple terms and am still serving. There are a number of people that don't undergo back ground checks that come on to school property that are contracted by the ISD. Right now we have a crew rebuilding the track at our high school. How many of those workers have undergone a background check.  We have service people that are contracted for certain jobs (A/C repair, mold re-mediation,  construction, electrical work, food and beverage delivery) that come on to our campuses all the time that are around the kids. They haven't had background checks unless the company they work for did them. All of these people are on campus at the invitation of the ISD and are never alone with children without ISD supervisory personnel present. I've never been on a campus or officiated a game where school personnel were not present. If one of our ISD's school officials has knowledge of a sports official having alcohol on campus or doing acts unbecoming a sports official and does report to or obtain a law enforcement officer, they will have serious consequences for not performing their duty as a school official.

Offline ETXZebra

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Re: Texas Tribune Article re UIL/TASO
« Reply #5 on: May 05, 2011, 08:51:37 PM »
I checked HB3028 and it's status as of today is "Failed to receive affirmative vote in committee".

Offline texref

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Re: Texas Tribune Article re UIL/TASO
« Reply #6 on: May 06, 2011, 11:21:00 AM »
I checked HB3028 and it's status as of today is "Failed to receive affirmative vote in committee".

Anything about HB 3694?

Offline ETXZebra

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Re: Texas Tribune Article re UIL/TASO
« Reply #7 on: May 06, 2011, 11:48:16 AM »
It hasn't changed status. It still shows "Left pending in committee" as of 4-12.

Offline Arbitrator

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Re: Texas Tribune Article re UIL/TASO
« Reply #8 on: May 08, 2011, 08:45:25 PM »
 ^flag

So exactly which House Bill is it that the Manor Road Crowd is throwing their support behind? I know it is not Rep. Weber's Bill. I thought they were in favor of Rep. Gallego's Bill but I'm a tad perplexed about where they stand.

The Houston UIL Basketball Chapter's brass recently sent out some email blasts to it's membership soliciting support for one(more than likely the  tiphat: Good UIL Dr. and his  :!# Dancing Monkey priming the pump for favorable legislation) but I'm not totally certain exactly which one that they are in support of.

The letters are transcribed as follows:/as verbatim as possible

Letter No. 1

From: UIL HCBO[mail to official@houstonref.net]
Sent: Friday, May 6, 2011/ 3:50PM
To: official@houstonref.net
Subject: Personal HCBO General Update

UIL Houston Chapter Officials,

The House Committee on Public Education met today after an announcement on the House Floor this morning to consider seven bills. Six of those bills were voted out of committee. In that six, one was House Bill 3028 which was authored by Ron Weber which is related to the activities of the UIL involving sports officials. It is still requested that you contact the aforementioned Representative Rob Eissler to let him hear your voice. The fact is if registration is handled in the format that is requested in 3130, the fees for registration wiull escalate tremendously  beyond the $50 that we all pay at this time. As has always been stated, no organization has all of the answers to every whim of each member.  All organizations are driven by a majority of its body. This organization is no different. We will continue to shape the organization as we deem it to be from an officiating standpoint. It will not make everyone happy all the time but please do not ever lose sight of the responsibilities of officials. Officiate the games of which we are a part. In closing, nothing ever worth doing is done easily or without is opponents as well as proponents. The path that we are charting is one that every state is observing. The other side of that coin is this. The UIL Houston Chapter stands tall and is a leader in helping to shape the future of officiating. We would like to take this time to apologize to the many of you that we have failed to communicate with regarding the movement of this Chapter. From the new website(getting everyone acclimated and registered as well as confirming the pay process for officials that had contracts on contract night), updating everyone with all of the activity of officiating local and state wide. In the next couple of weeks this information will be distributed to you to bring you up to speed.

Respectfully, James Batiste, President;  Lee Heine, Vice-President/ Web Site Administrator UIL Houston Chapter of Basketball Officials.



Letter No. 2


From:UIL HCBO [mail to : official@@houstonref.net]
Sent: Friday, May 6, 2011/ 7:15AM
To: official@houstonref.net
Subject: [Personal] HCBO- House Bills


UIL Houston Chapter Officials,

Please read the email below regarding new legislation that is trying to be passed for officials.  Itr is imperative that you contact your local legislatures as well as the guy doing this  to voice our rejection of this. HB 3694- Requirements for Sports Officials by Representative Gallego criminal background checks are commonly used by certain businesses and are also used by educational instutions to act as a safeguard in the interaction of children and adults.Interested parties are concerned, however, that certain sports officials and the University Interscholastic League  are not subject to criminal background checks despite their frequent interaction with students.  HB 3694 seeks to address this issue by establishing certain requirements relating to those sports officials. Here is a summary of house bill 3028 and 3130 which we dot support:

http://www.legis.state.tx.us./tlodocs/82R/billtext/pdf/HB03028I.pdf#navpanes=01

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE CLICK ON AND READ THIS. The bill spells out many things the UIL does not do but the Legislative Council dictates and they are attempting to  cover the main objective which is to get background checks omitted.

http://www.legis.state.tx.us/tlodocs/82R/billtext/pdf/HB03130I.pdf#navpanes=0 addendum to 3028.   The best way to understand what is going on  you will need to log on to the internet, copy and paste the http. It will bring up the documents so you can read them. These are still in committee  but will at some point be voted on and we need to do the best we can to make sure our representatives from this area  know our concerns. The need to know another side besides TASO. Please call them. The chair for this committee is Rep. Rob Eissler (281-681-9655) Call his office.

Respectfully,  James Batiste, President/ Lee Heine, Vice-President/Web Site Administrator- UIL Houston Chapter of Basketball Officials



It appears to be a well orchestrated campaign to get support for the legislation that suits the UIL the best, but I'm somewhat hazy on which one that may be! Any suggestions?   z^





Offline ETXZebra

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Re: Texas Tribune Article re UIL/TASO
« Reply #9 on: May 08, 2011, 09:17:04 PM »
Every official should be aware of HB 3130.  It states that all officials will be required to apply for registration with the Texas Commission of Licensing and Regulation and pay a fee to them.  It goes on to state that the fee will be set by the Texas Commission of Licensing and Regulation.  The glaring statement in the bill is “A political subdivision of this state, the University Interscholastic League, a state agency, or another entity may not adopt a registration requirement for a referee to whom this chapter applies.”  So the way I read that is that TASO cannot require registration.

Also keep in mind the way politicians think, this is the only bill that generates revenue for the state.

Offline Arbitrator

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Re: Texas Tribune Article re UIL/TASO
« Reply #10 on: May 08, 2011, 10:01:51 PM »
 ^flag

So Gallego's Bill would moreso cater to the UIL and play into their plan of controlling interscholastic officiating. Any monies generated from any background checks under this bill would go directly to the Manor Road Crowd. Under the Geren Bill, those fees for background checks would in turn go to the State of Texas. Under the Weber Bill, TASO would be able to control its own generation of background checks. Now am I reading this correctly?   z^

Offline DallasLJ

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Re: Texas Tribune Article re UIL/TASO
« Reply #11 on: May 08, 2011, 10:08:15 PM »
3130 would bar registration with the UIL.  I think the intent is to license us like Real Estate agents, attorneys, etc.  In that instance, we can, and would still register with TASO and your local chapter.

Offline Arbitrator

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Re: Texas Tribune Article re UIL/TASO
« Reply #12 on: May 08, 2011, 11:31:52 PM »
3130 would bar registration with the UIL.  I think the intent is to license us like Real Estate agents, attorneys, etc.  In that instance, we can, and would still register with TASO and your local chapter.

 ^flag

That being the case, I do believe that we could live with the Geren Bill(HB-3130) as well, provided it would take the UIL out of the officiating business.   z^

Offline Arbitrator

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Re: Texas Tribune Article re UIL/TASO
« Reply #13 on: May 09, 2011, 06:36:25 PM »
 ^flag

With the 7-3 committee passage of HB-3028(Weber Bill), it appears that Rep. Weber's bill is actually headed for the floor of the Texas House. Coupled with the Court of Appeals rejection of the UIL arguments earlier today, it appears to have been a pretty good day for TASO!   z^

Offline TexDoc

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Re: Texas Tribune Article re UIL/TASO
« Reply #14 on: May 10, 2011, 03:39:27 PM »
I've not had time to keep up with all of the bills currently floating around.  I have a good friend in the Texas house that would listen to me and I want to make sure I tell him the right thing.  In a nutshell, what does HB-3028(Weber Bill) do for us TASO supporters and do we want to support it?

Offline TXMike

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Re: Texas Tribune Article re UIL/TASO
« Reply #15 on: May 10, 2011, 03:44:32 PM »
Prevents UIL from doing anything to control officiating (or the pay)


By:AAWeber H.B.ANo.A3028
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
AN ACT
relating to activities by the University Interscholastic League
involving sports officials.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
SECTIONA1.AASubchapter D, Chapter 33, Education Code, is
amended by adding Section 33.085 to read as follows:
Sec.A33.085.AARESTRICTIONS ON CERTAIN ACTIVITIES BY
INTERSCHOLASTIC LEAGUES INVOLVING SPORTS OFFICIALS. (a) In this
section, "sports official":
(1)AAmeans a person who officiates, judges, or in any
manner enforces contest rules in any official capacity with respect
to an interscholastic, intercollegiate, or other organized amateur
or professional athletic competition; and
(2)AAincludes a referee, umpire, linesman, side judge,
track or field marshal, timekeeper, down marker, or scorekeeper or
any other person involved in supervising competitive play.
(b)AAThe University Interscholastic League may not register,
charge fees to, or require membership in or attempt to register,
charge fees to, or require membership in any sponsoring
organization of sports officials as a precondition for a sports
official to contract with a school district or open-enrollment
charter school.
(c)AAThe University Interscholastic League may not sponsor
or organize or attempt to sponsor or organize any organization of
sports officials.
(d)AAThe University Interscholastic League may not influence
or attempt to influence the selection of a sports official by a
school district or open-enrollment charter school.
(e)AAThe University Interscholastic League may not engage in
or attempt to engage in price-fixing activities or otherwise set or
attempt to set rates or fee schedules payable by a school district
or open-enrollment charter school to a sports official.
(f)AABefore the University Interscholastic League takes any
action that relates to the activities of a sports official, the
league must submit the proposed action to the interscholastic
league advisory council for review and comment.
SECTIONA2.AAThis Act takes effect immediately if it receives
a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each house, as
provided by Section 39, Article III, Texas Constitution. If this
Act does not receive the vote necessary for immediate effect, this
Act takes effect September 1, 2011.

Offline Ed Belding

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Re: Texas Tribune Article re UIL/TASO
« Reply #16 on: May 12, 2011, 03:33:23 PM »
I haven't been paying much attention for the last few months so this has probably been explained elsewhere.  Apologies if this is a tired old subject.  But....

Prevents UIL from doing anything to control officiating (or the pay)


By:AAWeber H.B.ANo.A3028
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
AN ACT
relating to activities by the University Interscholastic League
involving sports officials.
.....

I understand why the ant-UIL people are excited about these sections:


Quote
...
(2)AAincludes a referee, umpire, linesman, side judge,
track or field marshal, timekeeper, down marker, or scorekeeper or
any other person involved in supervising competitive play.
(b)AAThe University Interscholastic League may not register,
charge fees to, or require membership in or attempt to register,
charge fees to, or require membership in any sponsoring
organization of sports officials as a precondition for a sports
official to contract with a school district or open-enrollment
charter school.
(c)AAThe University Interscholastic League may not sponsor
or organize or attempt to sponsor or organize any organization of
sports officials.


But these sections may be of concern

Quote

(d)AAThe University Interscholastic League may not influence
or attempt to influence the selection of a sports official by a
school district or open-enrollment charter school.
(e)AAThe University Interscholastic League may not engage in
or attempt to engage in price-fixing activities or otherwise set or
attempt to set rates or fee schedules payable by a school district
or open-enrollment charter school to a sports official.

I understand the intent is to prevent UIL from influencing the assignment of games.  But that could be a double-edged sword.  It looks to me like it would also mean that they cannot require that schools use TASO officials.  As we all know 1204 currently dictates that official must be registered with TASO or the UIL with stipulations for exceptions.   Making either demand (UIL or TASO) would violate section (d).  Maybe that is OK, because local TASO chapters will have the best product and will continue to cover schools in the beginning.  But it would appear to me that it opens the door for independent crews and independent rogue chapters to spring up and solicit games directly from schools and school districts.  I understand it’s like this in Oklahoma today.  

Unless I am missing something Section (e) means the pay-scale in 1204 is tossed out the window.  So each school, school district or athletic district will be free to negotiate officials pay independently with TASO chapters or independent rogue chapters and officials.  I see no provision for standard pay-scales.  That is a recipe for free enterprise I guess but it also opens the door for a level of solicitation and downward bidding wars that we are unfamiliar with.    With current budget crunches that almost all ISD’s face today, you know school boards and superintendents will jump at any chance to save money; even relatively small amounts from cutting sub-varsity or going to a lower flat rate for varsity.   Love them or hate them the UIL /TASO marriage provided some benefits for officials.  And while a divorce of sorts seems inevitable, we might want to be careful about backing a settlement that may do significant unintended harm from another angle.    The author of this bill may have TASO’s best interest at heart, but it looks to me like we may be in a mess if these holes aren’t closed.  
« Last Edit: May 12, 2011, 03:36:11 PM by Ed Belding »