Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Back in Business and Working. The Legislature returned from its spring religious holiday break and has been working diligently since Monday. During the break, the Governor vetoed HF 2083--the bill that would have transferred $415 million from the budget reserve to accelerate the buy-back of the school aids payment shift to 70%/30%--on April 5. Given the numbers in the Legislature, overriding the veto would be a tall order, as the Republicans would have to get 18 DFLers to abandon the Governor in order for a veto override to be successful. That pretty much leaves things as they are.

Just because the veto wasn't overridden doesn't mean it didn't create some noise around the Capitol. It's certainly going to be mentioned in the up-coming campaign and the veto message and the legislative reaction seem to bear that out.

StarTribune Video of Legislative Leadership's Reaction:

Conference Committees Meeting. A number of education-related conference committees are in the midst of their proceedings. Those bills include:

SF 1528--On-line Learning Provisions. Chief authors are Senator Carla Nelson (R-Rochester) and Representative Pam Myhra (R-Burnsville). Other conferees are Senators Gen Olson (R-Minnetrista) and LeRoy Stumpf (DFL-Thief River Falls) and Representatives Mark Buesgens (R-Jordan) and Gene Pelowski (DFL-Winona).

HF 2244--School Trust Lands Management Changes. Chief authors are Representative Tim O'Driscoll (R-Sartell) and Senator Benjamin Kruse (R-Brooklyn Park). Other conferees are Representatives Carolyn McElfatrick (R-Deer River), Dennis McNamara (R-Hastings), Denise Dittrich (DFL-Champlin Park), and Steve Simon (DFL-St. Louis Park) and Senators Tom Bakk (DFL-Cook), John Carlson (R-Bemidji), Gen Olson (R-Minnetrista), and Dave Thompson (R-Lakeville).

HF 2949--Omnibus Education Policy Bill. Chief authors are Representative Pat Garofalo (R-Farmington) and Senator Gen Olson (R-Minnetrista). Other conferees are Representatives Paul Anderson (R-Starbuck), Sondra Erickson (R-Princeton), Jennifer Loon (R-Eden Prairie), and Denise Dittrich (DFL-Champlin Park) and Senators David Hann (R-Eden Prairie), Roger Chamberlain (R-Lino Lakes), LeRoy Stumpf (DFL-Thief River Falls), and Terri Bonoff (DFL-Minnetonka).

Headway is being made toward a final agreement between the House and Senate conferees on SF 1528 and HF 2244. Proceedings on HF 2949 will begin tomorrow morning (Thursday, April 19) at 8:00 AM. Depending on how quickly the Legislature wants to wrap things up will determine when these conference committees finish their work. If all were to go smoothly, they could be wrapped up by the end of the week or early next week. The Legislature has identified a tentative end-date of April 30, but it's anyone's guess whether or not that deadline is firm.

Staff Development Allocation Formula Elimination Bill Passed. HF 2506--Representative Jennifer Loon's (R-Eden Prairie) and Senator Carla Nelson's (R-Rochester) bill to eliminate the staff development allocation formula of 50% to sites, 25% to district-wide efforts, and 25% to exemplary site programs--passed the full House today and is on its way to the Governor. The Senate added an amendment requiring school districts to offer CPR training to all students in grades 7 through 12 at least once during their secondary school career.

While the addition of this requirement is a mandate, approximately 70% of school districts in the state are currently offering this training. Further, this is a relatively narrow mandate that is not nearly as burdensome as the mandate that would be removed by the legislation, making it a great trade for Minnesota school districts.

I would urge all of you who want the Governor to sign this bill to contact his office. The contact information can be found on the Governor's web page.

Governor's Office Contact Link:

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