Legislative session 2011 kills nullification and passes on education

Legislative session 2011 kills nullification and passes on education
BOISE - The legislative 2011 session continues with heated debate.

Last week a surprising vote on a hot-button issue to nullify the health care bill died, while education to a sweeping victory.

Merit pay and stripping union rights for teachers passed through the Senate 20 to 15 even after many Idahoans begged lawmakers not too.

"Save our schools. Take a class, not a credit," protesters shouted.

Senator Edgar Malepeai called the bills "mean-spirited."

"Those folks in the classroom are doing their job. They just can't control what their kids do," he said.

Republicans in favor said it was a big win.

"Today I think is one of the most exciting days in Idaho's history where we've had the nerve and the internal fortitude to stand up and say it's time to do it right," said Sen. Monty Pearce of New Plymouth.

Vigils were held across Idaho mourning the Senate's decision.

Next on the table, the Senate committee extinguished one of the hottest burning topics in Idaho, even after the House passed it 49 to 20.

The hearing was lively and at times emotional.

"At this point, liberty can begin anew in America...in the name of god! Do your duty," said Dave Daubenmire, a prominent radio host who flew in from Ohio.

A majority of committee members were not so inclined. One senator said he couldn't vote for a bill he thought violated the constitution. A sentiment supported by the Idaho Attorney General's Office.

This week ahead, lawmakers will hear testimony on Idaho's Medicaid plan.

After the rally last week, there's expected to be emotional testimony.

And the third bill in Schools Superintendent Tom Luna's plan to reform education will likely get a hearing in the education committee.

This is the part where students get laptops to take online course, therefor eliminating hundreds of teaching positions.

Both education and medicaid are likely to get a hearing as early as Tuesday.