Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Eye of the Hurricane. It's kind of slow on the education front at the Legislature these days. The Senate passed the Education bill after a long floor session last Thursday and sent it back to the House, where the House refused to concur with the Senate amendments. As a result, the House asked for a conference committee (Senate accepted request) and has named its conferees. The Senate has yet to name its conferees and thus, the conference committee has yet to begin its work.

One reason for the delay is that both the House and Senate have been extremely busy on their respective floors dealing with the remaining omnibus budget bills. As fast as things have been transpiring, I thought that the conference committees would have jumped into action and finished their work by April 15. The Legislature is breaking for the spring religious holidays (Passover and Christian Holy Week) Tuesday, April 18, and I thought legislative leadership would make every effort--and they still might--to put all off their budget and tax bills on the Governor's desk by Tax Day (the press conference possibility just seems too obvious). It is still possible to achieve this, but things are going to have to move fast and, at least from my vantage point, there are enough differences in the versions of the House and Senate bills that likely preclude the bills being reconciled with dispatch.

The House conferees are: House Education Funding Chair Pat Garofalo (R-Farmington), House Education Policy Chair Sondra Erickson (R-Princeton), Representative Tim Kelly (R-Red Wing), Representative Connie Doepke (R-Wayzata), and Representative Randy Fabian (R-Roseau). Senate conferees are likely to be named by the end of the week and I'll let you know when they are named.

Side-by-Side Comparison of Senate and House Bills Available. Every year, legislative staff prepares a side-by-side comparison of each bill that goes into conference committee, showing where the bills differ. The side-by-side comparison for HF 934/SF 1030 is now available and posted at this link:


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