The first week of Minnesota’s Legislative Session saw the usual slow, ceremonial start with key committee leaders preparing for their work.

A few fireworks as legislators took shots at each other over Gov. Tim Walz’s continued use of emergency powers to manage the pandemic, whether or not they should be mandated to wear face masks when conducting business in person and how long they should be able to use virtual hearings for formal legislative actions.

The Senate E-12 committee met to hear testimony from a few parents and school leaders staff about the challenges of distance learning and the effort to get kids back into classrooms.

Paul Chick, superintendent of the Hendricks School District, shared challenges of small school districts, especially on the border of South Dakota and losing students due to blanket restrictions by the state. Sen. Chuck Wiger (DFL North St. Paul) echoed the concern about losing students and mentioned a bill he’s been working on with Sen. Paul Utke (GOP Park Rapids) to address the loss of pupil revenue.

Education Committee Leaders

The chairs of the legislative E-12 Committees have been named for the Senate and House


The Senate GOP maintains a combined E-12 Budget and Policy Division. It is chaired by Sen. Roger Chamberlain.

Learn more about the committee and its work.


The House divided its E-12 work between three committees covering:

What’s Next

This week’s education committee agendas call for overview hearings of education finance and policy issues. Basically, the committees are stretching their legs, getting to know each other and taking a further practice run at Zoom hearings and procedures.

More substantial work will begin after Gov. Walz unveils a two-year operating budget, which is due no later than Jan. 26.

View MREA’s platform of issues.