Progress on Legislation
Veterans Restorative Justice Act - This week, my bill to provide Veterans an alternative to incarceration, advanced through the Public Safety Committee, and was referred to the Ways and Means Committee. This bill creates an important model policy and statewide continuity in how we work with Veterans who have committed low-level criminal offenses for reasons related to their service to our country.
School compensatory aid bill - This bill modifies how we calculate, spend, and target funds directed at students in the greatest need of additional academic support, based on levels of free and reduced lunch. The bill is currently referred to the Education Finance Committee for its first hearing. You can read and monitor the bill this session here.
FAFSA requirement bill - I am extremely excited to author this bill to help more college-bound students access financial aid. It would require high school seniors to complete their FAFSA application in order to graduate. In our state, only 50% of those who qualify for free and reduced lunch end up enrolling at a college or university post-graduation. Minnesota is behind on matching our students with these federal benefits. Over $30 million in grants went unused in the most recent annual data.
This bill also includes a “no questions asked” opt out, or hardship waiver, to be granted to students by each school with parent/guardian signature, to allow for more unique circumstances. Now is especially a good time to move forward with this legislation given the new FAFSA simplification passed by Congress last fall to reduce the number of questions on the application.
Let’s make sure Minnesota not only catches up with other states, but leads in providing opportunity and encouragement through policy to all students.