Content provided by Bluestem Prairie and republished with permission. For more in-depth news from Greater Minnesota, check out Bluestemprairie.com.
Remember Tim Miller’s anti-transgender House amendment to the K-12 Education Omnibus Finance Bill, the one that neither side was courageous enough to submit to a roll call vote when it was offered on the floor of the House?
The one that was left out of the conference committee report that both chambers approved, sending the final product to Governor Dayton, who vetoed it?
Yeah, that one–it was back today as one of two chief demands on the part of the House Republicans.
Yes: the language that House leadership refused to grant a hearing in time for the committee deadline back in March is oh-so-suddenly one of the most important items related to public education in Minnesota. We’d ask what color the sky is in their world, were it not for the fact that most of the state was overcast and rainy today.
One cannot fairly ask that question under the circumstances.
At the St. Paul Pioneer Press’s Political Animal blog, David Montgomery reports in Hope turns into recriminations in Friday’s negotiations:
Friday began with optimism: “Today’s the day!” House Speaker Kurt Daudt told reporters as he walked into Gov. Mark Dayton’s house, an offer in hand to try to resolve a weeks-long political standoff over the state’s education budget.
But things immediately went south. Far from resolving the standoff, Daudt’s offer infuriated Dayton by asking for two policy provisions the DFL governor opposes: repealing the state’s seniority rules for teacher layoffs, called “Last In, First Out” or LIFO, and a proposal requiring transgender students to use school bathrooms for their physical sex rather than gender preference.
Neither provision had been included in the final education budget Dayton vetoed earlier this month. The governor struck down that bill not because of anything in it, but because he said it didn’t include enough money for early childhood education.
Because of that veto and two others, 10,000 Minnesota state employees will get layoff notices next week, advance warning that their jobs will go away on July 1 if a budget isn’t passed on time.
When negotiations broke off for the day late Friday afternoon, Dayton went off on the Republicans, calling Friday’s talks “disappointing” and a “step backward.”
“It’s like we talk different languages,” Dayton said of Daudt and House Majority Leader Joyce Peppin. . . .
In the afternoon, after Dayton’s rejection of their earlier offer, Daudt came back with a revised proposal: $25 million in extra money, abandoning the transgender bill. . . .
Based on idle rumors friends have shared in the last couple of days, Bluestem suspects that Daudt and Peppin were up to a couple of tricks here. First, they were placating their caucus’ extreme right flank–legislators like Tim Miller (R-Prinsburg, Minnesota’s Most Conservative City) who authored the original go-nowhere bill, the conservative Christian grassroots who heed the call (and emails) of the Minnesota Family Council, and perhaps most importantly, wealthy conservative business people like Bob Cummins.
Cummins was instrumental in getting the amendment to restrict the freedom to marry on the ballot–and he did so with the assistance of Majority Leader Joyce Peppin’s spouse, who was hired in 2011 to strong arm Republican House members to vote yes, as Briana Bierschbach first reported in Politics in Minnesota.
Second, they were hoping to troll the Governor–who is passionate about the equality of all people–into a repeat performance of what The Uptake called a “rant” about those who opposed the Minnesota High State High School League’s adoption of transgender-inclusive policy guidelines back in December. However, Dayton was not responding to anyone serving in the House when he made his remarks last year, so the tactic seems a bit ripe.
Doesn’t look like Dayton took the bait–and their timing couldn’t be worse on a day in which social media was dominated by a 13-year-old’s portrait of Dayton looking like the most kindly grandfather ever, via the Advocate.
Emma Meents’ Op-ed: A 13-Year-Old, the Minnesota Governor, and LGBT Rights commentary is making the rounds, as is news of the upbeat Explore Minnesota ad featuring her two gay dads. Take this tweet by WCCO’s Pat Kessler to his 24,000-plus followers:
Interesting—> Minnesota Tourism ad features gay couple. http://t.co/In5xwDhD0p
— Patrick Kessler (@PatKessler) May 29, 2015
As the Pioneer Press reported, by the end the day, Kurt Daudt threw in the towel on that one. How unfortunate that he and Peppin felt the need to play bush-league politics without regard for the dignity of transgendered children.
Via MPR, here’s a copy of the GOP education offer:
Photo: Representative Tim Miller (profile photo from his personal Facebook page), author of the anti-transgender language that briefly made an appearance in negotiations for a new K-12 education budget bill today. For a lively discussion of his bill, we recommend watching Miller and Scott Dibble on Pioneer Public Television’s Your Legislators earlier this year via our post, VIDEO: Scott Dibble schools Tim Miller about MSHSL transgender policy, MN anti-bullying law.