Minnesota lawmakers felt their Race to the Top application was adversely affected by insufficient teacher union buy-in. So they heeded the union’s repeated calls for “a seat at the table” by giving Education Minnesota President Tom Dooher, well, a seat at the table. Unfortunately, it was a seat at the legislators’ table during a committee hearing and Dooher is not only the union president, but a registered lobbyist.
Republican state Rep. Mark Buesgens said it was “like having Vito Corleone watching over his foot soldiers.”
The Democrats said the meeting was a working group and not a full committee hearing, so Dooher’s presence at the legislators’ table was not a breach of protocol. However, the Minnesota House voted 128-2 yesterday to bar lobbyists and executive branch members from sitting at the committee table with lawmakers during official meetings.