It has been a busy week in the House, with today marking the deadline for bills to make preliminary progress in the committee process and remain viable for passage later this session.
One interesting bill I presented to the House committee on higher education which I chair would create a scholarship for minority teacher candidates. The goal is to expand diversity in the teacher ranks and some believe it also would help improve Minnesota’s woeful achievement gap. The bill also changes current language for grants to student teachers in shortage areas. There was strong interest in this bill in the committee hearing, with approximately 20 people signing up to provide testimony.
As for work on the House floor, this week we passed legislation to increase oversight and accountability of the Minnesota Stadium Facilities Authority. The bill reforms the governance structure of the MSFA and limits the use of free suites at US Bank Stadium. The bill is an appropriate response to numerous reports of unethical activity by MSFA members and executive staff.
A couple of developments to watch for in the near future include the House unveiling its budget proposal for the next two years, along with a full House vote on a health insurance bill that would help expand access and reduce premiums for people. I will circle back with more details on those subjects soon.
On a final note, I encourage local students to enter an essay contest which could land them recognition at the Capitol and provide them $1,000 for college.
Minnesota students in grades K-12 are encouraged to submit essays explaining how the State Capitol has shaped our collective past and will impact future generations. Contest winners in elementary school, middle school, and high school categories will be invited to share their works during an Aug. 12 program during festivities marking the completion of an extensive $310 million refurbishment of the 112-year old Capitol. Winners in each category also will receive a $1,000 college savings plan.
The restoration work that has been done at the Capitol is quite impressive but, beyond competing for some rather nice prizes, participating in this contest is a great way for younger people to get a true appreciation for what the building means to our state.
All essays must be received via email or postmarked by April 28. More information on the contest, including essay subjects, rules and where to send submissions is provided at this link. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for students and I hope we have a strong number of submissions from our area.