Editor's note: The following opinion piece is reprinted, with permission, from House Speaker Rep. Kurt Zellers (32B) weekly email newsletter. Zellers represents Maple Grove.
I was extremely disappointed to learn today that Governor Mark Dayton vetoed a bill to repay the K12 shift. I took Governor him at his word after the November forecast when he said: ‘I am hopeful, however, that continuing improvement in that forecast will permit us to accelerate our schedule for repaying our schools the money borrowed from them last summer.’
The forecast did improve. We can accelerate repaying schools and sent him the bill, which had bipartisan support, to do it. He vetoed it. When you have $1.2 billion cash on hand, it is time to start paying your debt. Repaying schools keeps our financial commitment to students and reduces our long-term debt. Governor Dayton would prefer our schools borrow money to pay bills while he keeps the cash in his pocket. His staunch unwillingness to move forward on a shared goal of putting kids first with no excuses and no exceptions is unconscionable.
The other major update from the Minnesota Legislature this week is the passage of the bill that puts the Photo ID constitutional amendment on the November 2012 ballot. Voters will get to decide whether the state constitution should be amended to require all voters to present valid photo identification prior to casting a ballot. An attempt to put Photo ID into state law failed last session when Governor Mark Dayton vetoed an issue supported by 80 percent of Minnesotans.
Photo ID protects the integrity of our elections and instills greater confidence in the process. I support putting this decision into the hands of Minnesota voters. They deserve to know their vote counts and should have a say in making this decision
As a reminder, the Minnesota Legislature will be on recess from Friday, April 6 – Noon on Monday, April 16. Next week I will provide a legislative update on our Reform 2.0 agenda.