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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Jamie Becker-Finn (DFL)

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Rep. Becker-Finn votes to support hourly school workers and to ensure Minnesota's elections remain safe and secure

Monday, May 4, 2020

SAINT PAUL, Minn. — Today, the Minnesota House of Representatives approved legislation that protects economic security for hourly school employees and election security for all Minnesotans.

The legislation ensures hourly school employees continue to get paid through the end of the school year. It provides compensation for hourly school employees and allows entities that contract with schools to provide services to be reimbursed for paying their employees, for changes in school employment practices as a result of COVID-19 related school closures and the conversion to distance learning programs.

“Like all Minnesotans, hourly school employees deserve economic security,” said Rep. Becker-Finn (DFL – Roseville). “We need to support paraprofessionals, nutrition services staff, child care workers, bus drivers, and many others by ensuring they continue to get paid through the end of the school year. This is the least we can do for the school staff members who have gone above and beyond to serve students during the current public health crisis.”

The bill also addresses school finance formula glitches resulting from the conversion to the distance learning model. The legislation creates and legislatively approves certain waivers of state law regarding assessments, graduation and course requirements, and potential licensure issues faced by prospective and current teachers.

The Minnesota House also approved legislation allowing the utilization of federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) funds, and additional measures to ensure Minnesota’s elections remain safe and secure.

“When Minnesotans vote this fall, they should be able to cast their votes safely and securely,” said Rep. Becker-Finn. “This bill will help keep election officials and voters safe, improve election accessibility, and protect our election system from hacking and foreign interference.”

In addition to improving accessibility and modernizing election security, HAVA funds will be used to ensure the health and safety of election officials and in-person voters. This includes preparation for increased absentee voting, new polling place locations, the purchase of sanitation and disinfectant supplies, and public outreach for implementing social distancing guidelines related to voting. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, additional funds were made available for virus-specific measures through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

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