Legislative notebook: Dayton considers bill requiring teachers to pass test

New Minnesota teachers would be required to pass a basic skills test before going into classrooms under a bill awaiting Gov. Mark Dayton’s signature.

Senators voted 60-1 to accept a bill a House-passed bill. A Senate bill had required that teacher education students take the test, but the House version required the test before a person earns a teacher’s license.

The bill by Rep. Andrea Kieffer, R-Woodbury, passed the House 132-0 last week.

Current law allows teachers to receive temporary licenses for three years while trying to pass the test, which asks questions about basic subjects such a math and reading.

Race to make point?

A liberal organization says a conservative group is using race to encourage support for requiring a voter to show a photo ID before casting a ballot.

TakeAction Minnesota accuses Minnesota Majority of using a person of color in a prison uniform and another person in a mariachi costume, along with a masked super hero, a ghost and a dead person.

“These images are racial-profiling of voters at its ugliest, designed to drive fear and racial division throughout Minnesota in order to help pass a photo ID amendment at the Legislature and on the fall ballot,” TakeAction Executive Director Dan McGrath said.

The online banner graphic was not designed to use race, countered Minnesota Majority President Jeff Davis.

“The people of Minnesota are wise to these old smear tactics,” Davis said. “It’s a testament to the fact that their arguments against voter ID lack any merit when they resort to mud slinging with the old race card.”

Those who support the amendment have expressed concern about felons and illegal immigrants voting.

Deduction ban advances

A Senate committee Monday approved a bill to ban child care unions from deducting dues from state subsidies.

The measure is a Republican reaction to Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton’s attempt to allow child care workers who operate in-home facilities to join a union. A judge hears arguments about Dayton’s plan Wednesday, after putting a temporary halt to it earlier.

Sen. Ted Lillie, R-Lake Elmo, said his bill would allow state funds to “apply directly to children rather than be diverted to unions.”

The state funds are in place to help poor families afford child care.

Child care provider Heather Falk of Cloquet told the Senate Health and Human Services Committee that she has to make $125 per week for each child, and if union dues were deducted that would be more for families to pay.

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