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House passes supplemental children and families budget

(House Photography file photo)
(House Photography file photo)

— UPDATED 6 p.m., May 1 following floor vote

After voting to table a package of funding and policy provisions meant to address child care and protection, hunger and homelessness late Tuesday evening, the House resumed debate Wednesday before voting 68-62 to pass the bill. It now goes to the Senate.

Sponsored by Rep. Dave Pinto (DFL-St. Paul), HF2476, as amended, would appropriate $34.37 million from the General Fund in the 2024-25 biennium in supplemental funding. Members worked through proposed amendments to the bill but did not finish their debate before midnight. 

The bill includes $9 million to begin a revamp of the outdated Social Services Information System used by more than 6,000 workers around the state each day to track and manage child welfare case work and $10.2 million for the state to participate in the Summer Electronic Benefit Transfer program. It provides eligible families with school-aged children money to purchase healthy foods during summer months.

Minnesota House passes HF2476, the children and families supplemental finance bill 5/1/24

Pinto said the latter appropriation would help unlock about $100 million in federal funding to help make sure young people have food.

“We want to make sure that every kid gets off to a great start, that every family receives support and that Minnesotans get to live in dignity and be able to thrive,” Pinto said. “That’s what this bill does.”

Republicans disagreed.

“This is a bill that rearranges the deck chairs on a ship that is sailing in the wrong direction,” said Rep. Walter Hudson (R-Albertville).

The bill would also modify some child welfare and child care licensing programs and make technical changes to existing laws.

A Supreme Court Council on Child Protection would be established; a weighted risk system would be created to provide child care providers greater consistency in how potential violations are enforced; and efforts to improve skills and credentials for early educators would be made.

Further direction and funding for the Department of Children, Youth and Families — which is set to begin its work in July — is also included, as is $5 million to fight food insecurity with money going to food banks and food shelves.

Minnesota House debate on HF2476, the children and families supplemental finance bill 4/30/24

An amendment successfully offered by Rep. Kim Hicks (DFL-Rochester) adds language that says a “child is not considered to be without proper parental care based solely on the disability of the child’s parent, guardian, or custodian.”

A Pinto amendment specifying that a $100,000 appropriation in the bill for an emergency shelter needs study would go to Propel Nonprofits to conduct research and submit a report related to transgender adults experiencing homelessness was adopted.

An amendment offered by Hudson would have shifted funds from the renovation of the State Office Building to early learning scholarships, which he said should take priority. It failed on procedural grounds.

Other unsuccessful amendments offered by Republicans included those that would have:

  • shifted money for grants to family and group family child care providers for costs associated with meeting licensing requirements;
  • boosted funding for the Social Services Information System by reducing funding in several other areas of the bill; and
  • added a provision allowing a child care provider to exclude up to two of their own children for the purposes of licensed capacity.


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