Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Relatively Quiet Tuesday.  While education-related committees have time slots on Tuesday, only one--the House Education Innovation Policy Committee--chose to meet.  Representative Sondra Erickson's committee covered three reports from the Minnesota Department of Education.  The first dealt with how school districts are doing with the World's Best Workforce Report.  The second dealt with an annual report on Minnesota's special education program, detailing the number of students in each disability category along with information related to the new funding formula.  The end of the report details the Governor's recommendation that an additional $40 million be invested in the per pupil component of the special education formula (that currently has a number of different components and hold-harmlesses--is harmlesses a word?).  The last report centered on third grade reading results.

The documents distributed by the Minnesota Department of Education are all available on the Committee website:

House Education Innovation Policy Homepage

Simply go to the Tuesday, January 31, meeting agenda in the far right-hand column.

One thing I have seen thus far this session is that committees don't meet for the sake of meeting.  If there are mandated reports, presentations by the administration or legislative staff, or bills to be heard, the committees meet.  But they haven't been meeting simply to re-hash subjects that have been re-hashed mightily over the past few years.  It appears that while there will obviously be conflict at some point between the Governor and the Legislature over philosophical differences, it doesn't appear that the Legislature will be loading up omnibus bills simply to have them punted back by the Governor through his veto power.  Of course, it's still early.  We're a little over a month in and everyone seems intent on making the situation work.

I guess I'll invoke a bad analogy.  Every legislative session is like a jigsaw puzzle and the first thing that needs to be done for it to run smoothly is complete the border.  Regardless of the composition of the Legislature and which party controls the Governor's office, there will always be those pesky sky pieces and flower bed patterns that make successful construction of the puzzle tricky, but once the border is constructed, the outer limits of the scene are established.  With the Governor's budget presented and the Legislature working up its response, the border is almost complete and things will be taking shape shortly.

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