Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Deadline Week.  Friday is the first policy committee deadline making it a mad rush around the Capitol as authors try to get their bills heard by the appropriate policy committee (or committees) before the week is out.  Any bill that is not passed out of a policy committee in either body by Friday is unofficially dead for the session.  Bills can often be resurrected as amendments later in the process, but it is extremely rare that a bill that has been unable to pass the appropriate policy committee would merit enough support to find itself accepted as an amendment on a major appropriations or policy bill.  The House Education Policy Committee has been keeping extra long hours over the past couple of weeks, having periodic night meetings that have covered a wide array of topics.  House Education Policy Chair Carlos Mariani (DFL-St. Paul) allows the committee to delve into issues and promotes discussion of bills.  It's rare that a topic does not enjoy full coverage and opposing viewpoints to be aired.

The Senate Education Committee has not held as many hearings at its counterpart in the House, but it has also covered a wide range of topics.  As the policy committee season draws to a close, it seems like every idea large and small has been heard and it seems like everything has been heard except for the

Omnibus Policy Bills Released.  The House and Senate Education Policy Committees released their first versions of their omnibus education policy bills today.  There will be amendments offered as both bills are heard throughout the rest of the week.  The bills are largely composed of legislation that has been previously heard in committee, the most notable of which is SF 2611 (Torres Ray)/HF 3062 (Mariani).  This legislation targets the achievement of non-English speaking students and their families.  It is surely an ambitious proposal and one that centers on a fast-growing segment of Minnesota's student population.

Here are links to the omnibus education policy bills:

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