We have entered the final days of the 2017 legislative session. The Legislature will be working all weekend to finalize the budget and get the work of the people done.
Teacher Licensure Reform Veto:
Last year, the Office of the Legislative Auditor (OLA) put forward recommendations based on an audit that found that Minnesota’s teacher licensure structure is in need of significant reform. Since the release of the audit, the chairs of the education committees in the legislature, as well as other representatives, senators, and stakeholders, have been working diligently to come to a conscientious on what reforms need to occur. A task force was established by the House and the Senate that worked in excess of 1000 hours over a span of 25+ meetings, developing 45+ different iterations on reforming the teacher licensure process. A bipartisan/nonpartisan solution was developed in the form of House File 140.
House File 140 addresses the recommendations by the OLA through:
Unfortunately, Governor Dayton vetoed this bill due to the pressure he received from Education Minnesota, despite it having broad bipartisan support from legislators and advocacy groups. Since being named the Vice Chair of Education Innovation Policy Committee this session, I have been able to learn a lot about this issue and the importance of needing to reform the teacher licensure process. Even though we were completely blindsided by the Governor’s veto, we will continue to work to another compromise on this issue.
On Wednesday, the House and Senate both passed the conference committee report of House File 3, making Minnesota REAL ID compliant; the Governor signed the bill into law Thursday morning.
In case you may have forgotten: REAL ID was passed by the U.S. Congress in 2005 with the intention of making it more difficult for potential terrorists to falsify an identification card. According to the federal law, all 50 states need to be in compliance before January 22, 2018.
Due to the passage of this bill, Minnesotans will be able to continue to board airplanes, as well as visit military bases and federal facilities while using the appropriate identification. The differences between the new REAL ID and a current driver's license are minimal. The REAL ID verifies the license holder’s legal status within the United States and ensures residence of only one state. In order to address some people’s concerns about privacy, the bill that has passed allows for a dual-track system. Minnesotans will be able to either apply to get a REAL ID, or use their current state driver's license and a passport as a form of identification.
If you ever have any questions, comments, or concerns regarding any issue related to state government, please feel free to contact me at either 651-296-8237, or firstname.lastname@example.org.