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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Duane Quam (R)

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News from Rep. Quam (4-15-16)

Friday, April 15, 2016

Hello from St. Paul,

The House supplemental education finance omnibus bill was heard and passed by the Education Finance Committee on Thursday. This bill includes funding and policy initiatives that look to improve education for students across Minnesota. It is worth noting that while this supplemental budget does include funding, the net change in state spending is zero.

Included in the bill is a provision I authored that requires the commissioner of education to work with the Minnesota School Safety Center to ensure that school crisis response teams are available to school districts in every region of the state.

In the past, when school districts encounter a tragedy, they have had to bring in counselors and other professionals to assist grieving students and staff. If a student were to pass away in a car accident, or another tragedy, having a team that is familiar with the area ready to assist quickly is important. This bill will establish crisis response teams within each region of the state, ensuring that school districts will have professionals available in the unfortunate event a tragedy occurs.

In addition, the bill also includes funding that helps end a fundamental disparity in revenue between metro and non-metro school districts.

Thanks to this specific provision, local school districts Pine Island, Kasson-Mantorville, Triton, Rochester, and Byron will see additional per-pupil funding.

The bill should be on the House floor for a vote sometime in the very near future.

Budget Adjustments

Last week, leaders in the House released our supplemental budget targets. These targets reflect our continued focus on keeping government spending in line with family budgets. Given this, we propose holding net total spending steady in our supplemental finance bills.

More specifically, areas that see increased funding in our supplemental budget proposals are offset by removing waste and prioritized savings, thus allowing for targeted increases.

First Exonerations

This week I chaired the Joint House/Senate Claims Committee, and while it is normally one of the least exciting committees, we had a first with the addition of exonerations. Three people that had been convicted and served time, were exonerated and for the first time under a 2014 law, they are being compensated. New facts such as the Toyota sudden acceleration defect, confirmation that a child died of SIDS, and that a false accusation was used to convict, resulted in their releases. Serving several years in prison, for something you did not commit is a tragedy, and it is good that we now have a process that helps these individuals get back to normal life.

Staying in Touch

Thank you to the groups that took time to visit St. Paul this week, including individuals from the Minnesota Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Rochester Public Library as well as teachers from Rochester.

Please make sure to contact me if you have any questions or comments regarding state government. I can be reached by phone at 651-296-9236 or via email at

Thank you and have a wonderful weekend,