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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Jeff Brand (DFL)

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Rep. Brand Votes for Bills Delivering Funds for Safe and Secure Elections, Support for Hourly School Workers

Monday, May 04, 2020

St. Paul, MN - Today, the Minnesota House of Representatives passed two bills. The first, HF 3429, would allow for the utilization of federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) funds, and additional measures to ensure Minnesota’s elections remain safe and secure. The second, HF 4415, provides compensation for hourly school employees who have been impacted by school closures during the COVID-19 pandemic. State Representative Jeff Brand (DFL - St. Peter), is a co-author of both bills. 

“In our continued efforts to address COVID-19 and its impact on our state, we need to recognize that there are Minnesotans that need help right now, and there are other issues that require more long-term planning. Today had a little of both.” said Rep. Brand. “We knew measures needed to be taken to protect our elections well before COVID-19, and now the pandemic has created a necessity to ensure that our elections are not only secure, but that they are also safe.”

In addition to improving accessibility and modernizing election security, HF 3429 would better 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.

“Our schools’ hourly employees remain crucial to the success of our students, even more so during COVID-19. Today’s bill delivers the economic security and clarity they deserve, and I hope we can also see it pass in the Senate soon.”

HF 4415 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.

Video of today’s House floor debate is available here