Sunday, May 16, 2010

Dead Ed. It now appears that the education bill constructed yesterday is now totally dead. As I reported a couple of hours ago, the Senate voted to reject the conference committee report and send it back to conference committee for amendment. The primary objection in the Senate was the inclusion of the language allowing school districts to renew existing referendum levies and at the same amount and term by school board decision. There's going to be a lot finger-pointing in the next few days regarding who is to blame for the unraveling of the bill, but it's hard to pin too much blame to anyone. This is what happens when something, if not exactly slapdash, is pieced together by amendment without the benefit of having the provisions vetted during a full-blown conference committee process.

It appeared that although the referendum renewal language would cause some consternation, it would at least make it through the Legislature and find its way to the Governor for a possible veto. As the day wore on, it became apparent that the Governor planned to veto the whole bill because of its inclusion and some last minute maneuvers were attempted to salvage the rest of the bill. Unfortunately, while there were some elements to the bill that had required a considerable amount of work and were clearly "finished product," the lack of synergy between the House and Senate began to show and the components weren't available to put together a bill that both sides felt comfortable passing.

I'll have more at another time.

The Legislature has adjourned the regular session sine die. By state constitution, the Legislature could not meet in regular session past midnight. However, a budget deal was has been struck just a short while ago and there will be a short special session later this morning. The deal will be reflected in a bill similar to the one passed last evening, which sets the K-12 aid payments schedule at 70%/30%.

More to follow.

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