Governor Tom Vilsack has no plans to back down in a showdown with legislators over one of his item vetoes, despite the new threat of a lawsuit over the matter. In June, Vilsack used his item veto authority to kill the legislature’s commission to study merit-based teacher pay. The governor appointed his own group instead, and Vilsack spokesman Matt Paul says that group will continue its work.
“The governor took action to make the structure of this group more inclusive, to get more Iowans involved in the process,” Paul says. In addition to a group Vilsack appointed to study how to implement performance-based-pay in Iowa schools, Vilsack asked the Institute for Tomorrow’s Workforce — a bipartisan group that includes educators and political leaders — to help craft a merit-based pay plan, too.
Senate Republican Leader Mary Lundby earlier today (Tuesday) said she hoped to convince fellow legislators to sue to stop the state funding for Vilsack’s initiative, and ultimately challenge whether his action was legal. The governor’s spokesman says Vilsack’s not going to bring things to a halt.
“We’ll continue to work on this issue…because this work is important,” Paul says. “The governor wants to continue his focus on the classroom, not the courtroom.” Earlier this month Attorney General Tom Miller issued an opinion that concluded Vilsack’s item veto was “unconstitutional.”