All public school children must have equal access to a high quality education regardless of where they live in Minnesota.




Legislative Update  
A c ommunication for education advocates in SEE districts.
April 21, 2017  
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Check out Brad's Blog for detailed information on legislative activity
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What is happening at the Capitol
It is a critical time in the legislative session. See the action alert below.

The members of the conference committees have been announced and their charge is to merge the Senate and House versions of the omnibus bills into a single bill from that committee that will go to the Governor.  The conference committees have been meeting, mostly looking at the side-by-side comparisons of the House and Senate versions of the bills.
See the Updated SEE Side-by-Side Comparison which compares the education-related finance and policy provisions between the Governor, House and Senate.

SEE is watching both the E-12 education and the taxes conference committees as education-related provisions are in each of the omnibus bills.  More information on the bills is available here on SEE's website.

E-12 Education Conference Committee - HF890/SF718    
Rep. Jenifer Loon (R - Eden Prairie), Rep. Sondra Erickson (R - Princeton), Rep. Peggy Bennett (R - Albert Lea), Rep. Ron Kresha (R - Little Falls), Rep. Mary Murphy (DFL - Hermantown).  You can find more information on the Representatives here

Sen. Carla Nelson (R - Rochester), Sen. Eric Pratt (R - Prior Lake), Sen. Justin Eichorn (R - Grand Rapids), Sen. Bill Weber (R - Laverne), Sen. Chuck Wiger (DFL - North St. Paul).  You can find more information on the Senators here
 
Taxes Conference Committee - HF4/SF2255  
Rep. Greg Davids (R - Preston), Rep. Steve Drazkowski (R - Mazeppa), Rep. Joe McDonald (R - Delano), Rep. Jerry Hertaus (R - Greenfield) and Rep. Paul Marquart (DFL - Dilworth).  You can find more information on the Representatives here

Sen. Roger Chamberlain (R - Lino Lakes), Sen. Gary Dahms (R - Redwood Falls), Sen. Jeremy Miller (R - Winona), Sen. David Senjem (R - Rochester) and Sen. Ann Rest (DFL - New Hope).  You can find more information on the Senators here.

For legislators to serve on a conference committee, they must vote in favor of the omnibus bill when it is on the floor.  So many bills have "yes" votes from the minority party.  Technically that looks like bi-partisan support for the bills, but more likely, it is the desire to serve on the conference committee rather than any agreement on the provisions in the bills. 

As always, check out Brad's Blog for more detailed information on what is happening at the Capitol.
Action Alert
SEE sent out the following action alert to SEE members earlier in the week.  Now we are sending it out to all.  Take the time now to send two brief emails, one to the E-12 education and the other to the taxes conference committees.  They are negotiating now on what stays in the omnibus bills and what is thrown out. 

Message to the E-12 Conference Committee Members
Email addresses to cut and paste into your communication. 
* Be sure to copy your local legislators and include your home address. *  
Find out who represents you.
rep.jenifer.loon@house.mn, rep.sondra.erickson@house.mn, rep.peggy.bennett@house.mn,  
rep.ron.kresha@house.mn, rep.mary.murphy@house.mn, sen.carla.nelson@senate.mn, sen.eric.pratt@senate.mn, sen.justin.eichorn@senate.mn, sen.bill.weber@senate.mn, sen.chuck.wiger@senate.mn
 
The primary message that the conferees need to hear is that as much money should go on the formula as possible. As has been reported, the target for the conference committee - at least at this stage of the game - will likely be less than half of what the Governor has proposed. That said, it is important for the conferees to hear how important a basic formula increase would be to SEE member districts and how it is SEE's number one funding priority.
 
Other items to mention in your message may include:
  • Passage of the Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board language including the portion that eliminates the additional coursework requirement for those with an Academic and Behavioral Specialist (ABS) license.
  • No unfunded mandates.
Message to the Tax Conference Committee Members
Email addresses to cut and paste into your communication.
* Be sure to copy your local legislators and include your address. * 
rep.greg.davids@house.mn, rep.steve.drazkowski@house.mn, rep.joe.mcdonald@house.mn, rep.jerry.hertaus@house.mn, rep.paul.marquart@house.mn, sen.roger.chamberlain@senate.mn, sen.gary.dahms@senate.mn, sen.jeremy.miller@senate.mn, sen.david.senjem@senate.mn, sen.ann.rest@senate.mn
 
There are several items of great importance in the tax bills and SEE supports some of them and opposes others.
 
The Senate has provisions that increase both referendum and debt service equalization and it is important that Senators hear a hearty thank you to help buttress their position and House members need to hear how important the tax fairness promoted by these measures are for low property wealth school districts.
 
The Ag Bond Credit is in both bills, with the House bill provided more relief to owners of agricultural property. It is important that all conferees hear how important this would be for districts with high concentrations of agricultural property.
 
**While SEE strongly opposes the provisions mentioned below, a positive message of support for the equalization and agricultural property tax relief is what should be featured most prominently in messages to conferees.** 
 
SEE does not support the following provisions:  
  • The increase in the tuition tax deduction.
  • The increase in the education tax credit and its expansion to include private school tuition.
  • The private school scholarship program that provides massive tax breaks to individuals and corporations that contribute to the program.
  • The limiting of debt service elections to one day annually, the November general election day.
  • The increased wording required on referendum ballot questions that may well confuse voters.