Throughout the legislative session MASA Lobbyist Valerie Dosland will be providing our members with an legislative update. We encourage you to share your thoughts with your elected officials as the opportunity arises...
DAYTON SUPPLEMENTAL BUDGET RELEASED
Governor Dayton released his 2014 Supplemental Budget proposal this week. The governor puts about $300 million toward what he calls "middle-income tax cuts" and federal tax conformity changes. He also earmarks $232 million to repeal all three business-to-business sales taxes passed into law last year. Most of these items are included in the Tax Bill, HF1777 (Lenczewski), which the House passed off the floor on Thursday afternoon on a vote of 126 to 2. Looking ahead, the governor advocated for putting more than $600 million in the budget. Most notably, the Governor made only one recommendation in his budget for E-12 education funding -- $3.5 million to fully cover the costs of reduced-price school lunch.
HEALTH INSURANCE TRANSPARENCY ACT
As you know, the Education Minnesota bill called the Health Insurance Transparency Act is moving forward. A side by side comparison of the bill is available here: Download HITAsummary
The bill is expected to be heard in the House Commerce Committee on Wednesday and the Senate Education Committee on Tuesday.
Unlike with the debate on the statewide health insurance bill, supporters of the bill are working to address various concerns. A number of amendments have been adopted to address concerns and more are expected. We are continuing to work with the Rep. Erin Murphy to make changes to the bill to address concerns including clarifying that districts can negotiate once bids are opened, addressing the impact this has on self-insured school districts and reserves held.
SAFE AND SUPPORTIVE SCHOOLS
HF 826, the proposed anti-bullying legislation, had been scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Finance Committee on Thursday morning. However, the bill was removed from the agenda as the bill authors and other legislators continued to work on a comprehensive amendment to address concerns raised by education organizations. I attended a meeting on Friday afternoon with legislators and representatives from several education organizations and am happy to report that we are anticipating an amendment that positively most of concerns raised by numerous education organizations.
COMMITTEE HEARINGS OF INTEREST
With only two weeks left until the first bill deadline the committee schedules for both the House and Senate committees are ambitious. Both the House and Senate Education Finance Committees are hearing bills related to the location equity formula and the school facilities task force recommendations. The House Education Committee is scheduled to hear several bills on PSEO and career and college readiness on Tuesday with the remainder of the week not yet scheduled. The Senate Education committee agenda is not out yet for the week but we expect that agendas to be full as well.
BILL INTRODUCTIONS OF INTEREST
HF2547/SF2370: Expanding eligibility for the location equity revenue program; making technical changes to the calculation of location equity revenue and referendum revenue.
HF2555/SF2159: Allocating a portion of the state general tax on seasonal residential recreational property to school districts.
HF2568/SF2305: Reducing paperwork burdens by creating a unified online system for collecting and reporting required special education due process data and thereby increasing opportunities for special education educators to focus on teaching students.
HF2629/SF2247: Encouraging cooperatively authorized secondary programs; expanding cooperation aid; imposing an excise tax on royalties; allowing an income and corporate franchise tax credit; increasing the taconite production tax rate; modifying the distribution of production taxes; providing security for payment of certain school bonds; authorizing uses of the Douglas J. Johnson economic protection trust fund; establishing a trust account to finance school facilities on the Iron Range; authorizing the sale and issuance of state bonds; appropriating money.
HF2679/SF2328: Linking extended time revenue to the basic formula allowance; extending services for English language learners; increasing the safe schools levy.
HF2681/SF2282: Modifying school district review and comment requirements.
HF2693/SF2299: Implementing recommendations of the 2014 Special Education Case Load and Rule Alignment Task Force; authorizing the commissioner of education to use expedited rulemaking to implement the rule recommendations of the task force.
HF2696/SF2617: Appropriating money for equity in telecommunications access.
HF2698: Providing debt service equalization for debt incurred as the result of a natural disaster.
HF2703/SF2426: Exempting local government purchases made under a joint powers agreement.
HF2744/SF1939: Modifying certain English learner provisions.
HF2775/SF2459: Aligning teacher evaluation programs.
HF2776/SF2479: Further clarifying key elements of Minnesota's career pathways and technical education system; enlisting P-20 partnership support in this work.
HF2846/SF2470: Authorizing an innovative partnership to deliver certain technology and educational services.
SF2117: Requiring a facilities finance plan to be included in fiscal year 2016-2017 budget recommendations; providing onetime school facilities improvement revenue; establishing a base for the new facilities finance plan; appropriating money.
SF2129: Modifying unrequested leave of absence provisions for teachers in special circumstances.
HF2544/SF2233: Clarifying the calculation of location equity revenue.
SF2253/HF2004: Further recognizing students' proficiency in languages in addition to English.