Thursday, May 18, 2017

Governor Vetoes Teacher Licensure Bill.  It's hard to say whether it was a surprise or not.  The debate on HF 140--the bill that would create the Professional Educators Licensing and Standards Board and a new tiered-licensure framework for Minnesota teachers--seemed to indicate that there were concerns with the bill from the DFL side and it was never clear if the Commissioner of Education had endorsed the bill.  There will be charges and counter-charges about that, but the bottom line is the Governor vetoed the bill.  Needless to say, the bill's chief authors--Representative Sondra Erickson and Senator Eric Prattt--are not pleased with this outcome and see it as a needless injection of partisan flavor into a non-partisan bill.  The votes in the House have always been pretty much along party lines, but the bill passed the Senate with a number of DFL votes on its original passage prior to the conference committee proceedings.  That number was cut by 5 as the number of DFLers supporting the bill dropped from 7 to 2 on the vote that approved the conference committee report.

Here's the WCCO story on the veto:  Dayton Vetoes Teacher Licensing Overhaul Bill

StarTribune Story:    Education veto, spending disputes mark Legislature's fifth-to-last day

I was trying to a story with quotes from the bill's authors responding to the veto, but the video from the press conference on the House of Representatives media page won't download, so here is a piece from the Senate Republican Caucus homepage that contains quotes from Representative Erickson and Senator Pratt.

Link:  Governor vetoes bipartisan teacher licensure reform bill

Budget Negotiations on a Glacial Pace.  The last few days are looking pretty much like what everyone would have liked to avoid coming into the 2017 session.  With just under 100 hours left before the regular session is required to end, things seem to be at a standstill and it's difficult to know if anyone will blink and if someone blinks, who will blink first.  As in the case of most budget negotiations, the parameters of the discussion are taking up a lot of the discussion.  The Governor contends he is meeting folks halfway; the Legislature disagrees.  The Governor wants bills with little or no policy included; the Legislature disagrees.  One would think there would be a happy (or even an unhappy) medium, but it has yet to be found.  There has been some movement on the second-tier budget bills, but agreement on the big five--taxes, E-12, state departments, transportation, and bonding--likely won't take place until the weekend.

I always like to post a song that describes what's happening in an off-hand (but hopefully respectful) way and the only thing I would come up with today is the Stylistics "Make Up to Break Up," which portrays the yo-yo we are on.  In the morning, there's optimism, but as the day wears on, negotiations seem to break down.  So let's go old school tonight and relax to one of the great Slow Jams of the 1970s (and forget that the special session in 1971--two years before this song was released--last until October).

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