Monday, February 2, 2009

Bill calling for elected regents faces long odds

HELENA - Legislation calling for the election of the state's Board of Regents and Board of Public Education staggered today from the state Senate to the House, where it would need almost 80 votes to earn a spot on a future statewide ballot.

Senate Bills 80 and 81, sponsored by Sen. Dan McGee, R-Laurel (pictured), received 20 and 21 Senate votes, respectively. Because both measures aim to change the state's constitituion, they require two-thirds approval from the 150-member Legislature.

McGee said he sponsored the bills because the education boards need to be held accountable to the public. Under the constitution, members of both boards are now appointed by the governor.

Opponents argued that opening the boards to political campaigns would bring only partisanship and culture clashes.

- by CNS correspondent Molly Priddy

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