The House Education Policy Committee is expected to roll-out an omnibus education policy bill this week full of new requirements and hurdles.
This comes as Minnesota lawmakers enter the first committee deadline week in the state legislative session, bringing on a flurry activity particularly among the House policy committees.
With nearly 400 bills in the House and Senate covering topics in education, it is up to the committees to prioritize which bills are heard first, and which require the most attention, especially during this remote session.
Legislators will press hard through March, putting major omnibus policy and spending bills together.
- March 10: The House Education Policy Committee will unveil an omnibus education policy bill.
- March 22: The House will release its budget targets in resolution format during the Ways & Means Hearing.
- March 26: The House Education Finance Committee will follow with its education budget bill.
Here’s a look at some of the key news in the House impacting E-12 schools:
- Omnibus Education Policy Bill
- Page Amendment
- Summer School & Pandemic Impact (ESSER)
The House omnibus education policy bill is expected to contain numerous new mandates on schools and students, ranging from new graduation requirements, more hurdles in the tiered licensure system, restrictions on the use of suspensions in grades K-3 and many additions to the World’s Best Workforce planning and reporting requirements.
By contrast, the Senate GOP education bill is expected to be very light on education policy as they attempt to hold the line on the flood of mandates coming from the House.
HF 874 (Hodan Hassan, DFL—Minneapolis) will receive an informational hearing on Monday at 1pm in the House Education Policy Committee. The hearing agenda notes no formal action will be taken.
Despite a healthy, bipartisan list of co-authors on the House bill, there is no Senate companion bill at this time. Senate Education Chair, Roger Chamberlain has been opposed to advancing this measure.
Funding for Pandemic Impact
School district groups continue to push the legislature to pass a funding measure aimed at addressing the lost pupil counts school districts have experienced this year. The Governor’s education plan includes $25 million to address this issue.
The House DFL started out session pushing HF 4 that includes $40 million for the cause. To date, no action has taken place in the Senate and insiders have noted how difficult it is to move anything across the House and Senate floors through the virtual process.
Complicating matters is the ESSER II funding that Congress passed at the end of December. Now ESSER III appears to be on the way as the U.S. Senate voted over the weekend and passed a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package.