2024 Session Closes Amidst Final Weekend Drama

Please note, this update was written at 8pm Sunday with 4 hours left in the session, and half a dozen or more major bills left for House and Senate consideration.

It all comes down to the final weekend at the Capitol. It always does and this year didn’t disappoint. As if Sen. Nicole Mitchel’s felony burglary charge wasn’t enough of a distraction, Sen. Omar Fateh (DFL Minneapolis), threw a curveball Saturday morning that effectively shut down the process for 10 precious hours of floor session work. His aim? To resolve the Uber/Lyft driver compensation issue and his gambit paid off. Around 10pm Saturday night a deal was announced that would keep Uber/Lyft in Minnesota, pre-empt local governments from adding compensation requirements and increasing driver pay to $1.28/mile and 31 cents/minute, estimated at a 20% pay raise for drivers.

As of Sunday, many of the session’s major bills had passed, some even presented to the Governor and signed into law. The Education Policy bill (SF 3567) was one such bill that was already law before session adjourned sine die. The Education Supplemental Budget Bill (HF 5237) was passed before the weekend and presented to the Governor Saturday afternoon. Bills that are passed in the final three days of the session trigger a 14-day clock for the Governor to consider signing or vetoing them.

As the final hours of the session approached, it appeared that a Tax bill and a Bonding bill were not going to make it. A handful of other supplemental budget bills in the areas of Higher Education and Health & Human Services were facing uncertainty as well, as time got short. Join us Wednesday at noon for an Advocacy Wrap-Up on this session’s work.

Education Policy & Budget Feature Provisions

We’ll get into more detail about these provisions during our Wednesday Advocacy Wrap-Up.

Read Act Improvements

  • $40/pupil for School Districts for costs related to the Read Act, allowable uses under literacy incentive aid
  • $36/pupil for teacher stipends for time spend on Read Act training
  • Extension of deadlines for Read Act training
  • Cooperative educational programs included in Read Act funding

Other Policy Improvements stemming from 2023

  • Delaying the civics requirement by one-year
  • District budget reserve established for Student Support Personnel Aid
  • Expanded MA billing for School Social Workers
  • 5,200 additional VPK slots
  • Cooperatives included in ALC Transportation Aid

Addressing Staffing Needs

  • Student Teacher Stipend pilot program funded $6.5M
  • Teacher Compensation Working Group
  • Paraprofessional qualifications examined and flexibility added, ensuring that paras meet federal highly qualified requirements for next school year
  • PELSB online licensing system funded at $2.7M

Special Education

  • Special Education Reciprocity Work Group
  • Expanding the special education pipeline grant program to other licensure tiers
  • Special ed paperwork reduction = districts can now do a stand-alone developmental assessment for physical education

Addressing Student Issues

  • Absenteeism = Student attendance pilot project sites funded $4.7M (legislative work group established)
  • Promise Fellows funded $625,000
  • MN Youth Council funded $375,000
  • State Health Standards to be created through rule-making process, MN Youth Council participation
  • English Language Learner Task Force