2023 Legislative Session Underway

Last week the 93rd Legislature formally convened for a two-year or biennial legislative session. DFLers now control the leadership of both the House, Senate and Governor’s office as Tim Walz was sworn into his second term as Governor. In the wake of officially swearing in 201 lawmakers (68 who are freshman) and an inaugural ball for Governor Walz, DFL leaders outlined an aggressive agenda for this session. 

Education funding has been at the top of the list since election night along with fast action on protecting women’s right to choose. A cash-funded construction bill, investments in housing, paid family medical leave, implementing automatic voter registration, eliminating state income tax on social security revenue, cannabis legalization and more continue to take priority for the DFL trifecta.

Spotlight on Education Committees

The first week or so of new legislative session are slow for committee action, and that held true for the various education committees that have been constituted for the biennium ahead.

The Senate has created two education committees:

The House has two primary and one secondary committee:

The Initial Volley of Highlight Education Bills

To search the details of specific bills, visit Minnesota Legislature (mn.gov).

  • HF 5 is the bill to fund universal free school breakfast and lunch service to all students in Minnesota. A ballpark price tag of $400M for the next two years and an impact on Compensatory revenue need to get sorted out, but the Education Policy Committee will review the bill this Wednesday.
  • HF 8/SF 56 would create “student personnel aid” and fund new support staff positions.
  • HF 18/SF 28 would fully fund special education services.
  • HF 58/SF 69 would prohibit student suspensions for K-3 students.
  • SF 8 would provide supplemental aid for student transportation, nutrition, EL services and special education.

A bill to increase the basic formula allowance by “5&5” and linking future biennial increases is in the works and may be introduced this week. The Walz Education budget is due January 24. Governor Walz has been very open to the idea of linking inflation to formula increases as part of his plan. House Speaker Hortman is supportive of this policy item as well.

MREA members are encouraged to join in the legislative conversation at MREA advocacy Briefings on Tuesday mornings. Check your Insider Brief for the invite and details.