Hearings Continue, Bill Introductions Exceed 1,000

As the dust settles on the Walz budget plan release, committees in both bodies have begun hearing summaries of each agency’s proposal. Most of these presentations have been limited to big picture summaries, and we eagerly await the release of more details to the expansive budget plan.

The rapid-fire pace continues as total bill introductions surpass the 1,000 mark in each body and break records set in past sessions.

House Education Looks to Make Pre-K Seats Permanent

Currently, Voluntary Prekindergarten and School Readiness Plus programs provide 7,160 pre-k seats across the state. Some of that funding is set to expire after fiscal year 2023. A bill heard in House Education Finance, HF456, would eliminate the sunset date from state statute and preserve those seats. The bill passed out of committee and is heading to Ways and Means.

House Education Policy considered the proposal to delay the revision of physical education standards until 2026-2027. The bill had support from both sides, representatives agreed that it doesn’t make sense to revise standards that haven’t been tried yet due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Because the bill has no fiscal impact, this hearing was its first and last. The committee passed HF112 and sent it to the General Register.

Senate Education Hears Presentation from MDE on Walz’s Budget

MDE presented a big picture view of the Governor’s education plan to the Senate Education Finance committee. A key funding piece includes tying the education formula to inflation. MDE told members that this is meant only to give baseline assurance to districts and take care of some of the needs, but that it doesn’t preclude future legislatures from adding to the formula.

Senator Rarick expressed concerns over the Universal Meals proposal and the potential issue it creates regarding the compensatory revenue formula. MDE said they’re hearing the same concerns from school districts and administrators and that they’re working on it. They hinted that something to address this issue would be coming “relatively soon.”

Senate Education Policy heard a bill intended to strengthen the Teachers of Color Act. SF619 would require an increase of teachers of color by at least 2% per year. The bill also establishes a grant program to address institutional racism and an amendment adopted in committee prohibits Native American mascots and allows Native American students to wear cultural regalia at graduation ceremonies.

This week in Education Committees

Senate Education Finance

Senate Education Finance will discuss the following bills:

  • SF494 (Putnam) – Building Assets, Reducing Risks Center
  • SF295 (Gustafson) – modifications to interpreter requirements
  • SF864 (Maye Quade) – funding increase for community education for adults with disabilities

Senate Education Policy

Senate Education Policy will discuss the following bills:

  • SF757 (Gustafson) – computer science education advancement fund
  • SF1090 (Cwodzinski) – delay for physical education standards – looks like this bill is getting the fast track, the House companion bill has already gone through the committee process
  • SF663 (Kunesh) – increase of heritage language and culture teachers
  • SF502 (Westlin) – paid orientation for paraprofessionals
  • SF392 (Gustafson) – funding increase for Minnesota math corps
  • SF666 (Latz) – funding increase for the community education revenue program

House Education Policy

  • House Education Policy will discuss the following bills:
  • HF1269 (Pryor) – MDE policy bill
  • HF806 (Youakim) – Building Assets, Reducing Risks Center
  • HF620 (Youakim) – paid orientation for paraprofessionals
  • HF1137 (Sencer-Mura) – increase of heritage language and culture teachers
  • HF1138 (Sencer-Mura) – teacher residency grant pilot program
  • HF1224 (Hill) – tiered licensure changes
  • HF1257 (Hill) – barriers to teacher licensure removed
  • HF1268 (Hill) – teacher licensure and teacher preparation program changes

House Education Finance

House Education Finance will discuss the following bills:

  • HF877 (Hill) – transportation sparsity revenue percent updated
  • HF994 (Berg) – funding for transportation for area learning center students
  • HF1259 (Youakim) – obsolete date eliminated from general education transition aid
  • HF781 (Koznick) – minimum hours for disabled kindergarten pupil aligned to other kindergartners
  • HF20 (Greenman) – wage credits modified and reimbursement provided
  • HF170 (Becker-Finn) – modifications to interpreter requirements
  • HF535 (Frazier) – authorization of school board renewal of an expired referendum