It was another busy week at the Capitol as we continued to debate and pass omnibus finance and policy bills in the House. Here is an update on some of the bills that recently passed.
Education Omnibus Bill
Last Saturday, the House passed the Education omnibus bill. This bill is a student focused approach to education that ensures that students across Minnesota, regardless of zip-code, have the opportunity to receive a world-class education.
Included in the bill is a provision that I authored that provides funding to address necessary upgrades of hardware and software in classrooms, computer labs, and server rooms at the Minnesota State Academies for the Deaf and Blind in Faribault.
Faribault is blessed to have both of these schools in our community as they do an outstanding job educating their students with the resources they currently have. Unfortunately, their computers and other equipment have not been updated in years.
I am grateful that Chair Loon chose to include this important provision in her bill and am hopeful that it will remain in place for final passage.
Other highlights of the bill include a $178 statewide increase in biennial per pupil funding. That breaks down to a $166 increase for the metro area, $193 for Greater Minnesota and $168 for Minneapolis and St. Paul. As well as reforms that empower teachers, students and schools by reducing student testing, reforming the seniority-only policy for teacher retention, streamlining and clarifying the out-of-state teacher licensure process, and by allowing districts to tap community experts for vocational, technical and career education programs.
Investing in Our Nursing Homes and Caregivers
The Health and Human Services omnibus bill was approved by the House early Wednesday morning. This bill does a lot to ensure that healthcare in Minnesota remains affordable and among the best in the nation.
This bill also provides real reform to facilities that care for our elderly by implementing a statewide rate of reimbursement—which will give our nursing homes a greater ability to recruit and retain care givers. According to non-partisan House research, the following local nursing homes will see the following annual changes in Medicaid and estimated private revenue for the 2016:
Faribault – Faribault Care Center: $325,647, a 14% increase
Additionally, the bill provides a one-time five percent cost of living adjustment for home and community based care workers.
Higher Education Bill
On Monday, the House passed the Higher Education policy and finance bill. This bill is an effort to lower student debt, get students career-ready, and improve student safety on campus.
This bill freezes and/or lowers tuition at our MnSCU colleges, including South Central College here in Faribault, for approximately 410,000 students and makes reforms to ensure students’ time in college is affordable.
Ultimately, this bill is about making college a more affordable and rewarding experience for Minnesota residents.
Staying in Touch
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As always, do not hesitate to contact me to discuss any questions, comments, or concerns you may have regarding the legislature. I can be reached by phone at 651-296-8237 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also stay connected with me by visiting my Facebook page and my Twitter account.