A disagreement over which bills to debate in the Senate Education Committee yesterday (Monday) prompted the panel’s democratic co-chair to cancel the meeting. Senator Mike Connolly of Dubuque says the Senate, which is evenly divided with 25 republicans and 25 democrats, is in gridlock. “The education agenda for this session is in serious jeopardy,” Connolly says. Connolly says a lot of attention in the Senate is focused on writing a state budget, and that’s it. “All lot of us came in…hoping for a lot more than that,” Connolly says. Connolly was steamed because Paul McKinley of Chariton, the republican co-chair of the same Senate committee, vetoed the idea of letting the committee consider a bill that cracks down on bullying in schools. He disagrees with Connolly over who should get the blame for the impasse. “We have bills that (republicans) would like to discuss, too, and I am willing to sit down and discuss any of these issues,” McKinley says. McKinley says republican senators would like to debate competency testing for new teachers and tax credits for daycare or preschool. “We would like to see compromise,” McKinley says. Any bill that fails to get committee approval by this Friday (March 11) dies for the year, unless it’s a bill that deals with taxing or spending.
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