Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Omnibus Supplemental Appropriations Bill Passes Senate.  With all eyes focused on the anti-bullying bill, I neglected to report that the Senate passed HF 3172--the omnibus supplemental appropriations bill--on Tuesday on a party-line vote of 37-27 with three Senators absent.

There were no major changes to the bill and the education portion of the bill remains intact,  Here are the increases in funding proposed in HF 3172 for E-12 education programs:

  • $4 million for English Language learners by raising eligibility from five years to six years.
  • $2 million for early literacy.
  • $9 million in one-time money for teacher evaluation (non-Qcomp districts).
  • $3.5 million in school lunch aid (makes reduced price lunch free).
  • $3.4 million for school readiness
  • $8.9 million for ECFE.
  • $8.8 million for early childhood scholarships

There are a number of smaller appropriations, but the above proposals comprise a "cage full of lions'" share of the $41 million budget target for the division.

The House refused to concur with the Senate amendments and have named their conferees for the upcoming conference committee, which will commence when the Legislature returns from its break for the spring religious holidays on April 21.  The House conferees are Representatives Lyndon Carlson (DFL-Crystal), Tom Huntley (DFL-Duluth), Tim Mahoney (DFL-St. Paul), Jean Wagenius (DFL-Minneapolis) and Paul Marquart (DFL-Dilworth).  Note that there are no Republicans on the conference committee, but it is tradition that in order to serve on the conference committee pertaining to a bill, a legislator must vote for that bill.  Because no Republicans voted for the bill, there will not be one on the conference committee.

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