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April 16, 2007

Roll Call Votes on TeenScreen

Thursday, March 15th

In the K-12 Finance Division hearing, Rep. MIndy Greiling (DFL-Roseville), Committee Chair and author of the TeenScreen legislation, refused to allow amendments on her TeenScreen legislation. Greiling packed numerous other bills into the hearing, allowing little time, in spite of the uproar of opposition TeenScreen has generated. One veteran lawmaker said he has never before seen committees refuse to take amendments. EdWatch testified against TeenScreen.

Monday, March 26th

In a transparently coordinated effort, the Star Tribune editorialized in support of TeenScreen.

Tuesday, March 27th

1.) The omnibus Mental Health bill (HF 169) was heard in the Health Care and Human Services Finance Division. Rep. Laura Brod (R-New Prague) offered an amendment to delete TeenScreen from the bill. The Brod amendments was defeated, 5 - 12.

Ayes: Brod, Bunn, Dean, Erickson, Gottwalt
Nays: Abeler, Fritz, Hosch, Huntley, Liebling, Loeffler, Erin Murphy, Ruud, Slawik, Thao, Thissen, Walker
Absent: Anderson, Otremba, Peppin, Peterson

2.) The omnibus K-12 Education bill (HF 6) was heard in the K-12 Education Finance Division. All specific references to TeenScreen had been removed, but language was added in another section called "Safe Schools Levy" (charged to every property owner in each school district) one small phrase saying, "including suicide prevention tools." This is disguised TeenScreen authorization.

         Rep. Mark Olson (R-Big Lake) offered an amendment to add: "...which shall not include psychiatric screening tools." The Olson amendment also stated that students could not be labeled as potentially violent based solely on attitudes, values or beliefs.

        The second part of the Olson amendment relates to the "Early Warning, Timely Response" federal program which uses "intolerance for differences and prejudicial attitudes" as a "warning sign" for violence and mental illness. "Intolerance" labels would be based on "racial, ethnic, religious, language, gender, sexual orientation, ability, or physical appearance" criteria. The amendment was fiercely debated. It failed, 6 to 15, with every DFL member opposing and every Republican supporting. While TeenScreen is not specifically named, but it remains in the House omnibus education spending bill. This YouTube link shows some of the live debate or listen to the streaming audio here. The Olson amendment was defeated, 5 - 16

Ayes: Those supporting the motion, to prohibit universal mental screening were: Bud Heidgerken, Randy Demmer, Bob Dettmer, Sondra Erickson, and Mark Olson.

Nays: Those opposing the amendment, to keep mental screening in the K-12 omnibus spending bill, were: Mindy Greiling, Tom Anzelc, John Benson, Robin Brown, Jim Davnie, Denise Dittrich, Augustine "Willie" Dominguez, Tim Faust, Pat Garofalo, Debra Hilstrom, Carlos Mariani, Paul Marquart, Carol McFarlane, Will Morgan, Terry Morrow, and Marsha Swails.

         Rep . Pat Garofalo (R-Farmington) then offered an amendment removing the Safe School Levy entirely, which also failed.

105 Peavey Rd, Suite 116, Chaska, MN 55318
952-361-4931 www.edwatch.org - edwatch@lakes.com

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