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The Minnesota Federation of Teachers has filed suit in federal district court in St. Paul to block the state's 1985 Postsecondary Enrollment Options Act on the grounds that the law violates both the state and federal constitutions by permitting the "direct diversion" of public funds from public schools to church-related colleges and universities.

The "open-enrollment" plan, which was championed by Gov. Rudy Perpich, allows 11th and 12th graders to take college courses with tuition paid by per-pupil state foundation aid. (See Education Week, Oct. 23, 1985.)

Richard Mans, president of the mft, an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers, said last week that the union has counted 1,600 pupils in the program but does not know how many of them are taking classes at religiously affiliated institutions.

The suit seeks a permanent injunction to bar the payment of state funds to church-supported postsecondary institutions.

Gov. Anthony S. Earl of Wisconsin has signed a comprehensive teen-pregnancy-prevention bill that makes parents financially responsible for babies born to their children who are minors. (See Education Week Oct. 30, 1985.)

The law also allocates $1 million for pregnancy counseling, abolishes restrictions on the advertising and sale of contraceptives, forbids hospitals and clinics to notify parents of a teen-ager's abortion without her consent, and allocates $200,000 to promote adoption services for pregnant adolescents and women.

The grandparental-responsibility provision authorizes social-service agencies to work through courts to assign financial responsibility for raising a teen-age mother's baby to the parents of either the baby's mother or father.

The legislature passed the law "after a remarkable process of negotiation between bitter enemies: the pro-life and pro-choice people," said Ron McCrea, the Governor's spokesman.

For the second time this year, the Illinois General Assembly has voted to increase the state tax on cigarettes by 8 cents a pack to raise revenue for school reform.

The legislature's first attempt was nullified when the Congress voted this fall to extend the 16-cent-a-pack federal tax. The federal tax had been scheduled to revert to 8 cents on Oct. 1. (See Education Week, Aug. 21, Oct. 9, and Oct. 16, 1985.)

At the urging of Gov. James R. Thompson, who said the state needed the tax to keep its commitment to school reform, the legislature again approved the measure during its fall session. Effective in December, the tax is expected to raise between $50 million and $60 million in the fiscal year that ends June 30.

Vol. 05, Issue 13

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