Monday, April 23, 2012

HF 2949 Conference Committee Report.  Here is the promised link to the conference committee report on HF 2949, the omnibus education finance/policy bill.  It will likely hit the House and Senate floors sometime today and it will be passed.  I have no idea if it will be a straight party-line vote or if a number of DFLers will vote for it.  There isn't a lot here that raises hackles (although there are some provisions that may raise an eyebrow) and the Minnesota Department of Education did weigh in on a number of provisions in an effort to make the bill something the Governor will sign.  We'll just have to see how events unfold.

HF 2244 Conference Committee Report.  I reported last Friday that the conference committee on HF 2244--the school trust lands bill--had reached agreement and that I anticipated that conference committee would be posted over the weekend.  No such luck.  I don't know if this is because there are still outstanding issues or it can be credited to some other reason.  It should be up soon.

SF 2183 Vetoed.  The Governor vetoed, as expected, SF 2183.  SF 2183 (Thompson-R-Lakeville)/HF 2596 (Doepke-R-Orono) would have prevented the Minnesota Department of Education's decisions made through memorandum or bulletin to have the power of law.  There have been a number of bills passed this session attempting to limit the executive branch's ability to "make law" outside of legislative authority and those efforts have been resisted by the executive branch.

This is more than a simple tug-of-war and it's taking place at all levels of government.  It is a discussion that needs to take place as legislative bodies at all levels seem to be experiencing gridlock and issues mount as a result.  The failure of legislative bodies to:  (1) come to any agreement, and (2) provide clear direction to the implementing executive agencies in these agreements, has left a wide swath of area in which executive branch agencies can operate.  Of course, executive branch decisions can be met with derision as they are often unilateral in nature even if input is sought.

While it's unfortunate this bill was vetoed, it should spark a discussion of the proper roles of each branch of government and showcase the need of the Legislature to write clear and concise laws that limit executive branch flexibility in the interpretation and implementation of laws.

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