First Bill Passed by House, Relief Plan Released, Budget Anticipated

While the Senate still seems to be getting their feet under them, the House continues to move bills quickly through committees and even passed one of the DFL’s top priorities – the Protect Reproductive Options Act – off of the floor on Thursday night. The pace of this session will only snowball once the Senate starts picking up speed.

Governor Walz continues to give previews of his budget proposal, set to be released on Tuesday, January 24. In the lead up this week, the Governor’s team has been rolling out press releases and revealing key components from major packages.

The Children and Families package includes investments in the child care industry. The Economic Future package includes a large Paid Family and Medical Leave program, a big priority for the DFL this session. This package also includes a proposal to extend unemployment insurance benefits to hourly school workers.

See Walz’s Working Families and Economic Relief outline released last week.

House Education hears familiar bills

Bills that failed to pass in previous sessions are being re-presented. Considering the sheer number of bills that died in 2022, plus the transfer of power in the Senate, it’s no surprise that many DFL legislators are simply re-introducing proposals that we’ve seen before.

House Education Finance laid over HF44, the menstrual products in schools bill, presumably to include it in a future omnibus. House Education Policy considered proposals to establish an Indigenous Peoples’ Day (HF211) and a bill that expands the requirements for ASL interpreters in schools (HF170).

Senate Education considers several funding proposals

On Wednesday, Education Finance Chair Kunesh presented her bill, SF8, to the committee as a supplemental aid package for school districts, helping them through the end of fiscal year 2023. The proposal totals around $500 million. The bill divides the appropriation into categories – transportation, ELL, SPED, and nutrition. Chair Kunesh intends that the funding would go to districts’ general fund, but she “hopes that the district would use them for these appropriate uses [as outlined in the bill language].” No action was taken on this bill.

Senate Education Finance heard two proposals on Thursday, targeting cross subsidies in SPED and ELL programs across the state.

  • SF21 would provide 100% funding for SPED in MN from fiscal year 2024 and forward. With ranking minority member Senator Rarick saying that his caucus considers this their number one funding priority for education, this issue has bipartisan support.
  • SF28 would phase in additional funding for schools’ ELL cross subsidy, eventually reaching 100% coverage by fiscal year 2027. Both of these proposals were laid on the table, with the intent to include them in a future omnibus bill.

This week in Education Committees

Senate Education Finance

This week the committee will hear several proposals on levy authority for certain districts, small school disability access grants, as well as the following bills:

  • SF50 (Cwodzinski) – menstrual products in schools
  • SF69 (Mann) – dismissal of prohibition of students in kindergarten through grade 3

Senate Education Policy

Senate Education Policy will discuss the following bills:

  • SF183 (Maye Quade) – a provision to define “recess detention” and limit the use of is as a punishment to certain circumstances
  • SF332 (Duckworth) – expands the definition of a “shared time pupil” to include students attending CTE programs
  • SF291 (Pratt) – mandatory screening for conditions associated with sudden cardiac arrest for all youth athletes

House Education Policy

House Education Policy will discuss the following bills:

  • HF271 (Edelson) – a provision to define “recess detention” and limit the use of is as a punishment to certain circumstances
  • HF320 (Hassan) – Teachers of Color Act
  • HFXX (Hanson) – mandating school boards to adopt a written policy addressing “malicious and sadistic conduct”
  • HF347 (Howard) – lead testing and remediation requirements for schools
  • HF362 (Moller) – requires MDE to hire two lead positions to serve as a source of information and support for schools in addressing the mental health needs of students, teachers, and school staff
  • HF345 (Hussein) – requires MDE to develop a pilot program to redesign performance frameworks for high school to improve educational outcomes for students of color

House Education Finance

House Education Finance will discuss HF5 (Universal Meals) and bring back HF44 (menstrual products) for further discussion and amendments. On Thursday, the committee will receive a presentation of the Governor’s Budget for Education.