Tuesday, April 26, 2016

House Passes Education Articles.  The E-12 and Higher Education articles of HF 2749 passed off the House floor on a vote of 84-46 last night after about three-and-a-half hours of debate.  Because the articles were presented together, the debate jumped back and forth between E-12 and higher education subjects.  There wasn't a lot of change to either bill.  In an era when the budget resolution basically takes any chance for additional funding off the table through amendments, there's very little the minority party can do to substantively change the bill.  Representative Frank Hornstein did offer an amendment on testing that was largely accepted after being tweaked a bit by Education Innovation Policy Chair Sondra Erickson in an amendment to the Hornstein offering.  Representative Hausman's amendment that would have put the student support services grant program into the bill was also altered by an amendment to the amendment offered by Education Funding Division Chair Jenifer Loon that removed additional funding from the original amendment and authorized a study of the need for student support services.  8 DFLers joined the Republicans in approving the bill while no Republican voted against the bill.

The action moves to the Senate tomorrow, where the full Senate will take up SF 2744, the omnibus education policy bill.  The full Senate will take up its omnibus supplemental funding bill on Thursday.  About the only question remaining is how the policy provisions will be handled as the session wears on.  The House has incorporated all of its policy provisions into their budget bills.  The Senate has decided to pass all policy bills separately.  This could cause some confusion as the final bills are put together and any complications could endanger provisions that aren't tracked carefully.

I will keep you posted as things continue to take shape.

Hooray for the Mighty Bombers!  Congrats to my alma mater Cannon Falls High School for winning the Class A speech contest a couple of weeks ago.  The team had two individual state champions:  Matt Breuer in the Great Speeches Category and Grant Schlichting in Extemporaneous Speaking.  I don't imagine anyone on the team used the two pieces I performed--"The Flea Gang's First Cigars" and "Pyramus and Thisby" in the Humorous Interpretation Category in 1970 and 1971--which is all the better for them.

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