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Bill requiring new, Minnesota teachers to pass test overwhelmingly approved

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news Willmar, 56201
Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

ST. PAUL -- 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.

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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.

New maps ready

A five-judge Minnesota panel plans to release new congressional and legislative district maps at 1 p.m. today.

The courts announced Monday the maps will be available at www.mncourts.gov under a "special redistricting panel" link.

Chief Justice Lorie S. Gildea established the judicial panel last year in case the Legislature and Gov. Mark Dayton did not agree on a redistricting plan. Republicans who controlled the Legislature passed a plan last year, which Dayton vetoed, and there has been no work on a new plan this year.

The courts say the Web site will include:

n The panel's orders regarding redistricting.

n Statewide and Twin Cities area congressional district maps.

n Statewide and Twin Cities area legislative district maps.

n Select maps of metro areas around Minnesota where it is impossible to discern the legislative districts from the statewide maps.

n Various reports compatible with Maptitude software.

Within a week, reports also will be available in the State Law Library in St. Paul and each county law library.

Redistricting is required by two U.S. Supreme Court cases and a provision in the Minnesota Constitution that require elected officials' districts to contain the same number of people. New maps are drawn every 10 years following the national census.

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 Gov. Mark Dayton's attempt to allow child care workers who operate in-home facilities to join a union. A judge is scheduled to hear 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."

Don Davis reports for Forum Communications Co.

ST. PAUL -- 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.

New maps ready

A five-judge Minnesota panel plans to release new congressional and legislative district maps at 1 p.m. today.

The courts announced Monday the maps will be available at www.mncourts.gov under a "special redistricting panel" link.

Chief Justice Lorie S. Gildea established the judicial panel last year in case the Legislature and Gov. Mark Dayton did not agree on a redistricting plan. Republicans who controlled the Legislature passed a plan last year, which Dayton vetoed, and there has been no work on a new plan this year.

The courts say the Web site will include:

- The panel's orders regarding redistricting.

- Statewide and Twin Cities area congressional district maps.

- Statewide and Twin Cities area legislative district maps.

- Select maps of metro areas around Minnesota where it is impossible to discern the legislative districts from the statewide maps.

- Various reports compatible with Maptitude software.

Within a week, reports also will be available in the State Law Library in St. Paul and each county law library.

Redistricting is required by two U.S. Supreme Court cases and a provision in the Minnesota Constitution that require elected officials' districts to contain the same number of people. New maps are drawn every 10 years following the national census.

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 Gov. Mark Dayton's attempt to allow child care workers who operate in-home facilities to join a union. A judge is scheduled to hear 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."

Don Davis reports for Forum Communications Co.

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Don Davis has been the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau chief since 2001, covering state government and politics for two dozen newspapers in the state. Don also blogs at Capital Chatter on Areavoices.
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