Should Lawmakers Be Treated Like Teachers When It Comes To Seniority?

Would Republican lawmakers like a taste of their own medicine? That seemed to be the message behind an amendment Rep. Carly Melin (DFL-Hibbing) offered to a controversial education bill which says seniority cannot be the only criteria for determining if a teacher can be laid off.

Melin’s amendment said that committee chairmanships in the House would no longer be determined strictly by seniority but instead performance would also be considered. Melin said her amendment was relevant because she lifted the requirements directly from the education bill (HF2) that was being debated.

House Speaker Kurt Daudt disagreed and ruled the amendment was not germane to the bill, meaning under House rules it could not be considered.

After a long debate, the bill passed the House on a mostly party line 70-63 vote. Tony Cornish (R-Vernon Center) was the only Republican to vote against the bill. The bills chances of passing in the DFL Senate are dim where two companion bills have yet to receive a hearing.

Daudt Tries To Restrain GOP Sniping

The House debate also brought DFL pushback on Republicans’ new practice of objecting to amendments on procedural grounds even before the amendment’s author had finished presenting it. In past sessions under both DFL and GOP control authors were allowed to state their case before someone would object. There has never been a rule preventing objections while the author was speaking, but it was done as a courtesy — especially when amendments were being offered to score political points but not likely to be adopted.

Melin repeatedly asked House Speaker Kurt Daudt to intervene and allow amendment authors to make their presentation without objection. Earlier in the evening the practice led to multiple procedural votes as DFLers appealed the rulings of the Speaker, leading to roll call votes that added even more time to a long debate.

Daudt refused to say he would stop such a practice, but urged lawmakers to use restraint in their “point of order” objections. “I’m hoping just this dialog will encourage members to allow a member to introduce their amendment and talk about it before we get to the point where we’re offering points of order. So I’ll leave it at that.”

Michael McIntee

Michael McIntee is a former network TV news executive with more than 30 years of broadcasting experience. He began his broadcasting career at the University of Minnesota's student radio station. He is an expert producer, writer, video editor who has a fondness for new technology but denies that he is a geek. More about Michael McIntee »

One thought on “Should Lawmakers Be Treated Like Teachers When It Comes To Seniority?

  1. This would be a great idea! Sadly, the Republicans didn’t like the amendment!