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Tracking Minnesota’s political scene and keeping you up-to-date on those elected to serve you

National GOP group targets control of Minnesota Senate

A national Republican fundraising group dedicated to GOP control of state legislatures has targeted the Minnesota Senate as a pickup opportunity in 2016. 

The Senate Republican Caucus announced Thursday that it had landed on the priority list for the Republican State Leadership Committee. The group said its efforts in Minnesota would also be aimed at retaining the current Republican majority in the House. 

"They know we can win back control of the Senate," Senate Minority Leader David Hann said. 

Democrats currently occupy 39 state Senate seats versus 28 held by Republicans. All 67 members of the Senate will be up for re-election a year from November. 

Rep. John Kline to lead No Child Left Behind compromise group

WASHINGTON -- Rep. John Kline will lead the compromise group between the House and the Senate to cobble together legislation on overhauling No Child Left Behind.

The Republican chair of the House Education and Workforce Committee has his work cut out for him.

The House passed Kline's bill July 8 -- a deeply conservative piece of legislation that failed to garner any Democratic votes.

Kline's bill scales back the role of the federal government in schools and allows federal dollars for poor students to follow them to whatever school they attend -- something Democrats argue hurts poor schools and school districts.

A week later, the Senate handily passed, by 81 votes, a compromise measure that also shifts power back to states, but keeps intact accountability provisions championed by civil rights leaders and liberal Democrats.

Kline is now charged with running the conference group that will cobble together a compromise that can pass both chambers. It also must also be signed by President Barack Obama. The White House has signaled outright veto threats to the House bill and wariness on the Senate version.

"There is a lot of work to do in the coming months," Kline said, in a statement Thursday. "I am confident we will be able to craft a bicameral education bill that reduces the federal role, restores local control and empowers parents and education leaders."


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