MSBA at the Capitol — Senate committee to hear MSBA-supported bill

In the Senate — Tax Reform Committee

On Thursday, January 15, the Senate Tax Reform Committee will hear SF41, authored by Sen. Greg Clausen. MSBA wrote a letter in support of this bill, which would make permanent a sales-tax exemption on school tickets and admissions. Currently, this tax exemption benefits schools and those who attend school activities that require tickets. This sales-tax exemption is set to expire on July 1, 2015. This one of those “common-sense bills” that the Legislature should act on this year.

Noteworthy Bills Introduced:

SF6 (authored by Sen. John Hoffman) would provide voluntary pre-K for every four-year-old in the state.

SF2 (Sen. LeRoy Stumpf) would provide two years of free community or technical college education for graduating seniors. Students would be required to complete a FAFSA and participate in counseling. Sen. Stumpf pointed out that there would need to be more work required to make this bill a viable option.

In the House — Education Policy and Finance committees

This week, both the House Education Innovation Policy and House Education Finance committees are welcoming freshmen legislators (six in Policy and four in Finance), addressing member education goals and providing overviews of education topics that will be discussed and debated throughout session.

The Policy committee tackled the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), its impact, its unintended consequences and Minnesota’s flexibility waiver. Discussion ended with a “wait and see” approach to what the federal government does on ESEA reauthorization and how that will impact Minnesota’s flexibility waiver.

Minnesota Congressman John Kline, chair of the U.S. Education and the Workforce Committee, has been quoted in the press as saying that there is a “groundswell of support” to dismantle NCLB. Members of the MSBA Board of Directors will be traveling to Washington, D.C., in February and have requested a meeting with Chairman Kline to discuss this issue.

Noteworthy Bills Introduced:

Once again, Rep. Kim Norton introduced a Labor Day start bill (HF100). Her approach this year would allow school districts to start school before Labor Day, but would require they have the Thursday and Friday prior to Labor Day weekend off school. MSBA has a LONG history of supporting the concept that local school boards should be allowed to determine their own school district calendar depending on the educational and cultural needs in their district.

About mnmsba

The Minnesota School Boards Association, a leading advocate for public education, supports, promotes and strengthens the work of public school boards.
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