| The 2020 legislative session adjourned sine die Sunday night at midnight. As you have heard us say several times, there are no two sessions alike - this session is like no other due to COVID-19 will always be marked as "distance legislating" and "distance lobbying" and "distance learning".
Here is a recap of what passed.
HF 4415 has had a long journey this session. The bill passed the House floor May 4th on an 83-49 vote. Saturday evening it was heard on the Senate floor and Sen. Nelson offered a delete-all (DE) amendment, which was the language both the House and Senate education finance chairs agreed upon a week ago. HF 4415, as amended, passed the Senate on a 66-1 vote. The bill returned to the House for concurrence and passed in the last 30 minutes of session on a 75-55 vote.
The new bill is a shortened version of the original and the major provisions are:
- Compensatory education set-aside mandate -repealing the mandate that school districts set must a portion of any increases for extended time activities.
- There are five formula adjustments that are revenue neutral or technical corrections that will hold districts harmless;
- Student absences don't trigger truancy referrals
- MCAs are waived for 2020
- Equitable distribution of federal funds
- There are considerations for student teachers and licensing renewals
- And finally, there is flexibility with fund transfers so districts may transfer any funds not already assigned to or encumbered by staff salary and benefits, or otherwise encumbered by federal law, from any accounts or operating fund to the undesignated balance in any other operating fund.
Notably, what is NOT in the bill is the provision requiring hourly staff and contracted employees to be paid.
On the policy side, HF 163 was the vehicle bill for policy issues. Chair Youakim introduced a delete-all (DE 4) amendment on the House floor Sunday evening and there were several amendments offered. Two notable amendments that had much discussion were 1) to allow in person graduations for 2020 graduates and 2) language to prohibit lunch shaming.
The bill was up for a vote in the last moments of session and did not make the midnight deadline.
The COVID-19 pandemic elections bill passed bipartisanly and was signed by the Governor just this past Wednesday.
The new law, applies to the remaining 2020 elections only.
*Schools can only be used as a polling place when no other public or private location is reasonably available
*Candidates to file election-related documents electronically
*More time for local officials to designate new polling places
*Permits employees of health care facilities and hospitals to administer absentee voting to residents or patients;
*More time that absentee ballots may be processed due to expected increases in absentee voting activity
*Appropriates federal money ($7.39 million) made available through the Help America Vote Act to the Secretary of State for election security purposes.
*Appropriates federal money ($6.93 million) made available through the Help America Vote Act and the Federal CARES Act.
All the items have been vetted by MSBA's Greg Abbott. One provision - the first bullet was an amendment on final passage on the Senate floor and accepted by the House.
What is normally a top priority for the second year of the legislature didn't happen this session.
What we do know is there will be a special session, called by the Governor, on June 12. We anticipate the bonding bill will be a priority.
Tuesday, May 19 12:30 PM
Select Committee on Minnesota's Pandemic Response and Rebuilding
Chair: Rep. Melissa Hortman
Workplace safety for Minnesota's nurses as it relates to the COVID-19 Pandemic.
- A bill for an act relating to state finance; establishing the COVID-19 relief federal fund; creating legislative oversight of COVID-19 education funding. (Kresha)
- providing for compensation for school employees during distance learning periods during the 2019-2020 school year due to COVID-19. (Jordan)
- A bill for an act relating to labor relations; modifying public labor relations. (Sandstede/Eaton)
- modifying requirements for reading proficiency and literacy incentive aid; requiring a report (Robbins)
- requiring the commissioner of education to distribute a portion of Elementary and Secondary School Relief Fund in response to COVID-19 to nonprofit organizations working with communities of color and indigenous communities with the greatest educational disparities (Moran)
- creating an ethnic studies requirement and advisory board (Lee)
- providing for compensation for school employees during distance learning periods during the 2019-2020 school year due to COVID-19. (Cwodzinski)
Please continue watch Twitter for updates.