Legislators were appointed last week to the committee that will negotiate many of the details of the education finance and policy provisions that have survived the process thus far and provide a shared plan for a final vote. Rep. Jennifer Loon (GOP-Eden Prairie) and Sen. Chuck Wiger (DFL-North St. Paul) will serve as co-chairs of the Education Conference Committee. View MREA’s side-by-side comparison for the issues of interest in the Senate, House and Governor’s plans.
Leadership will give them overall direction in terms of total spending and how much in certain areas on some of the larger issues such as formula and early learning. The Governor and the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) will be battling for Dayton’s universal preschool plan. Commissioner Cassellius has made it clear to many that they won’t leave session without something major accomplished on this front and also for American Indian students. View the big issues at play.
Who’s Serving & Why
The other four Senators on the committee include familiar names such as: Sens. LeRoy Stumpf, Kevin Dahle and Alice Johnson. GOP Sen. Eric Pratt (Prior Lake) brings bipartisanship to one of the sides in conference committee.
Five GOP Senators voted for the Senate education plan on final passage, which is usually plenty of votes for a caucus to earn a position on a conference committee. Five Senate DFLers voted no because the bill didn’t have enough on the formula and/or early childhood.
The House conferees are all GOP members since every DFLers voted “no” on the bill. There was one GOP no vote on the House floor and the bill passed on a 69-61 margin. The other House conferees include Reps. Sondra Erickson, Ron Kresha, Roz Peterson and Bob Dettmer.
House Chair Jennifer Loon gets to call the first meeting to order since the first bill to pass was the House’s HF 844.
Contacting the Committee