On a mostly party line vote Thursday, the House Environment Committee approved a bill to remove management of school trust lands from the Department of Natural Resources.
The DNR manages 2.5 million acres of land to benefit K-12 education. Critics say the agency hasn't been earning enough from logging and mining.
The bill would create a new legislative commission to oversee the land, with a director in the executive branch.
Democrats on the committee say that presents a constitutional conflict over separation of powers. Advocates say that issue can be resolved.
The bill now goes to the House Government Operations Committee. A similar bill in the Senate is headed to the Education Committee.