Thursday, January 10, 2019

First Bills of 2019 Introduced.  It's that time of year again when the first set of bills are introduced in the House and Senate.  31 bills were introduced in the House on Thursday and 91 were introduced in the Senate.  One new wrinkle in the House this year is that all funding bills will first be referred to the Ways and Means Committee from which they will be re-referred to the appropriate budget divisions within the Ways and Means structure.  This change raised a few complaints on the first day of session when the House rules were being debated, as the minority believes the new method of bill referral will be less transparent than the practice of previous years when the budget bills were referred to the funding division or committee directly after introduction.  I don't know if this makes the process less transparent, but the possibility exists that an introduction later in the session could be slowed down by the need for an extra referral.  We'll just have to see how it plays out.

With no further adieu, here are the education-related bill introductions with the link to the bill language embedded in the file number:

Senate

SF 7--Nelson--Increases school safety revenue with greater flexibility

SF 14--Wiger--Requires students to take a nationally-normed college entrance test as a requirement for graduation.

SF 15--Goggin--Requires school districts to provide certain access to career options in the military, skilled trades, and manufacturing.

SF 17--Cwodzinski--Requires students take a government and citizenship course in order to graduate.

SF 19--Cwodzinski--Requires students take a personal finance course in order to graduate.

SF 24--Wiger--Increases basic formula by 3% in each year of the coming biennium and additionally ties formula growth to inflation.

SF 25--Wiger--Allows school districts to bond for certain security equipment.

SF 26--Wiger--Increases EL formula (basically doubles formula amount).

SF 27--Wiger--Expands access to innovation zone pilot program.

SF 28--Wiger--Requires school districts to pay cost of college entrance examination for all 11th and 12th grade students.

SF 29--Wiger--Increases equalizing factor for local option revenue program.  No amount designated in bill.

SF 30--Wiger--Increases equalizing factor for operating referenda.  No amount designated in bill.

SF 31--Wiger--Increases equalizing factor for debt service program.  No amount designated in bill.

SF 32--Wiger--Allows districts to use long term facilities maintenance revenue for building modifications that improve school safety.

SF 33--Wiger--Requires assessment for learning readiness for children entering kindergarten.

SF 37--Wiger--Appropriates money for full-service community schools.

SF 49--Wiger--Provides a digital student achievement backpack.

SF 50--Wiger--Proposes $230,000,000 in bonding for school facility safety improvements.

SF 55--Wiger--Increases special education funding and makes changes to special education formula.

SF 81--Wiger--Establishes a Minnesota Reads task force to review literacy programs for children and adults.

House

HF 2--Edelson--Increases revenue for school-linked mental health services, support our students grant program, collaborative urban educator program, full-service community schools, and homework starts at home program.

HF 19--Erickson--Modifies world's best workforce measurements and reports.

HF 20--Erickson--Renumbers statutes for intermediate school districts.

HF 21--Erickson--Surveys teacher preparation programs.

HF 22--Erickson--Modifies student testing provisions.

HF 23--Erickson--Codifies teacher code of ethics in statute and repeals related rule.

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

Dueling Press Conferences.  


The House DFL Caucus announced its first ten bills at a noon press conference that outline their priorities for the 2019 legislative session.  The picture above features newly-elected Representative Heather Edelson along side Education Funding Division Chair Jim Davnie outlining the education portion of the press conference.  The bill they will be sponsoring aims to provide more mental health and student support services to students throughout Minnesota by expanding access to school-linked mental health services and promoting the addition of school social workers, school psychologists, school nurses, and school counselors in districts throughout the state.  From their comments, they will also be considering expanding the full service community school concept.

Among the other bills included in the DFL priorities will promote paid family leave, attempt to rein in drug and health care prices, and require a more comprehensive system of background checks to purchase firearms in Minnesota.

Here is a link to a story relating to the press conference:  First 10 bills offer glimpse of DFL's ‘Values Agenda’

The Senate Republicans unveiled their first five bills at a press conference yesterday and mental health, including increased access to mental health services in schools, was featured in that discussion.  Below is a video of the press conference.


I Always Follow Orders.  So when an item of click-bait told me to Google my own name (because I would be surprised), I did and I have to admit that I am surprised.  It seems that I am not the only Brad Lundell in the United States and "Iowa Brad Lundell" runs a very successful hog operation in Kiron, Iowa, and is a member of the Odebolt-Arthur-Battle Creek-Ida Grove School District Board.  It's a little late to vote for "Iowa Brad Lundell" as the Iowa Pork Producers Pig Farmer of the Year for 2018, but I hope things turned out well for him in that effort.  Seeing we've been looking at Iowa's use of a local sales tax to finance school facility costs, he would likely be a great source of insight on that matter. 

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

And We're Off!


It's a little early in the year for a horse-racing comparison, but the Legislature kicked off (Oops!  Wrong sport!) today with the new majority being sworn in at the House of Representatives and the Senate reconvening.  There is one new Senator--Senator Jeff Howe who replaced former Senator Michelle Fishbach--with the Republicans maintaining control of the body.  Until last week, it appeared it would be a one-vote majority at 34-33, but with Senator Tony Lourey resigning to become Commissioner-designee at the Minnesota Department of Human Services, Republicans have a two-vote edge pending the results of a special election to be held on February 5.

At any rate, it's time to pull out the programs, because as the old saying goes "You don't know the players if you don't have a scorecard."  The links below lead you this year's line-ups in the House and Senate.

House Members

Senate Members

And here are the committee rosters.  As I wrote late last year, the Senate has combined the E-12 Funding and Education Policy Committees into one committee--surprisingly named the Education Funding and Policy Committee--that will be chaired by Senator Carla Nelson.  The House Education Finance Division will fall under the auspices of the House Ways and Means Committee and will be chaired by Representative Jim Davnie.  The House Education Policy Committee will be chaired by Representative Cheryl Youakim.

Here are the links to the aforementioned committees.

Senate E-12 Finance and Policy Committee

House Education Finance Division

House Education Policy Committee

The House has also created a subcommittee that will deal with early childhood issues and will have jurisdiction over budget areas in education and health and human services that provide service to Minnesota families with children who have yet to enter school.  That committee will be chaired by Representative David Pinto.  Below is a link to that committee:

Early Childhood Finance and Policy Division

Frankly, I was surprised that the Legislature convened on a national holiday.  Everyone knows that January 8 is the birthday of  Elvis Presley and somehow the mail was delivered and banks were open today.  Anyway, here's a video of an Elvis television performance from 1956 summing up how I hope the Legislature treats me in 2019.