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Legislation that would prohibit school districts from making layoff decisions based solely on seniority cleared the House on a 70-61 vote on Thursday evening.

LIFO, Legacy measures clear House

Rep. Branden Petersen (Staff photo: Peter Bartz-Gallagher)

Legislation that would prohibit school districts from making layoff decisions based solely on seniority cleared the House on a 70-61 vote on Thursday evening.

The Senate must still pass the so-called “last in, first out” proposal after it was negotiated during a conference committee. Gov. Mark Dayton has made it clear that he intends to veto the measure.

Rep. Branden Petersen, R-Andover, the lead sponsor of the bill, acknowledged that it’s likely to face a veto, but insisted that it will eventually become law. “This change is coming to Minnesota and it’s coming to every state across the country,” Petersen said.  “The education reform movement is coming and there’s nothing you can do to stop it.”

Rep. Tom Anzelc, DFL-Balsam Township, spoke against the measure during the floor debate. “Continue the path you’re on, starving public education, and the problem that you are inappropriately trying to correct here today will continue,” Anzelc said. “It is a bad bill; it’s worthy of a veto.”

Only three legislators — GOP Reps. Greg Davids, of Preston, and Dean Urdahl, of Grove City, and DFL Rep. Kate Knuth, of New Brighton — bucked their caucuses on the issue.

The House also passed the Legacy Amendment bill on Thursday night, allocating spending on environmental and arts projects funded through a 2008, voter-approved increase in the state sales tax. It cleared the chamber by a 75-56 vote margin.

Rep. Tom Rukavina, DFL-Virginia, criticized the Legacy package as wasteful spending. “I can’t believe the pork in here and I can’t believe we sit here and allow this,” Rukavina said. “I think this is a legacy of pork.”

The Senate passed the same bill earlier in the day. It’s now headed for a likely signature from Dayton.

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