access to technology. Today the House Ways and Means Committee heard
and sent it to the floor. The bill passed in the Senate on a 66-0 vote last week. The bill does the following.|
- Establishes a $15 million distance learning broadband access grant program. This emergency funding must be awarded by September 30, 2020.
- Establishes a $2 million telemedicine equipment reimbursement grant program
- Adds $10 million to the border-to-boarder broadband fund.
- Bill Text / A1 amendment - adopted
It looks like the legislature wants to get funding out now to support students and Minnesotans across the state but hopes the federal CARES coronavirus aid will cover it. In that case, the money can return to the state's general fund.
Last Friday, the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) prohibited school districts from holding large in-person graduation ceremonies either indoors or outside. This sparked frustration across the state as school districts have work to find creative and safe ways to recognize their graduates.
. Rep. Ron Kresha (R-Little Falls), who, along with many of his colleagues,
sent a letter
asking MDE to rescind the new graduation policy. In a news release yesterday, Rep. Kresha stated. "The
Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) has confirmed that they have not and will not create a policy to levy a financial penalty against schools holding graduation ceremonies in person." This doesn't rescind the official graduation guidelines but does seem to give school districts some wiggle room.
It's the final weekend before the end of the session, and most of the work is going on behind closed doors. The legislative process gets even less transparent when working through a pandemic. However, it all must be wrapped up by 11:59 p.m. on Monday, and I will be back next week to provide a session wrap-up.