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Legislative Update: MN House Passes Education Policy Conference Committee Report

Thursday, May 16, 2024

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We are down to the last few days of the 2024 legislative session, and our time is mostly spent on the House floor passing legislation and conference committee reports.

Yesterday, the Minnesota House passed the Education Policy Conference Committee Report. The measure builds on last year’s historic education budget by prioritizing policies to improve student experiences and outcomes in Minnesota schools. Among the highlights:

  • Prohibits banning books.
  • Requires schools to adopt a policy on student cell phone use so school buildings have a consistent approach to help students focus on learning.
  • Eliminates unnecessary paperwork so special education teachers can spend more time working with their students and ensures these teachers have the training they need to meet those students’ needs.
  • Requires schools to provide mental health education for students in grades 4-12 (starting in the 2026-27 school year).
  • Creates a process for students to access their mental health services through telehealth without needing to leave their school buildings.
  • Gives school boards more flexibility in determining their schedules by allowing them to implement a four-day school week.
  • Improves state oversight and accountability for charter schools.
  • Establishes clear guidelines for what is protected and unprotected speech in school newspapers to ensure students can engage in spirited debate without fear of censorship for crossing an otherwise subjective line.
  • Expands access to PSEO and Concurrent Enrollment courses so more students can earn college credits for free while in high school.

Video of the floor discussion is available on House Public Information Services YouTube channel.

Other Significant Legislation Passed 

Additional legislation and conference committee reports passed in the last week:

  • The Human Service Policy conference committee report, which continued the work of historic investments to help our most vulnerable. This bipartisan legislation clarifies several items in last year’s bill, which makes improvements for Minnesotans with disabilities, those in recovery from substance use disorder, and recipients who rely on waiver services
  • The Health Supplemental Budget and Policy budget bill. This strong bill takes meaningful action to enhance health insurance coverage, improve health care access, increase patient protections, reform Emergency Medical Services, and help address mental health in Minnesota. 
  • The Elections Committee Policy and Finance conference committee report. The policy provisions of the report focus on improved voter access and election transparency. It targets policy areas where the state can improve voter turnout and ensure that if voting is restricted, voters have a means of redress. It enhances disclosure requirements for those seeking to influence elections, expands voter access and comprehension, and increases election transparency.
  • The Higher Education Supplemental budget bill. The legislation adds to last year’s record funding increase for Minnesota’s colleges and universities that froze tuition at Minnesota State for two years, fully funded the University of Minnesota’s systemwide safety and security request, and provided free college to students with a household income under $80,000, among other investments. 
  • The Agriculture Supplemental budget, which includes the reauthorization of the Food Safety and Defense Task Force, farm-to-school grant funding, creates the first Spanish language commercial pesticide applicator exam, addresses the groundwater nitrate crisis, and more.
  • The Climate and Energy Budget and Policy bill, which includes reforms to the permitting process for clean energy projects, support for geothermal energy power, and additional investments and policies to ensure we reach the 100% Clean Energy by 2040 goal the Legislature set last year.
  • The conference committee report cracking down on hidden, deceptive fees to ensure consumers have fair, upfront pricing for event tickets, restaurant meals, hotels, credit cards, and more.

New State Flag Raised 

On Saturday, May 11, 2024, the new Minnesota State Flag was flown over the Capitol for the first time!


(Photo credit: House Public Information)

Veterans Crisis Line

And a reminder if you or another veteran is struggling with mental health issues, the Veterans Crisis Line can help in times of need. Veterans can use this option by dialing 988 and pressing 1 to contact the Veterans Crisis Line. Veterans may still reach the Veterans Crisis Line with the previous phone number—1-800-273-8255 and Press 1—by text (838255), and through chat at


Stay Connected with the Legislature

It is easy to stay in touch with State Capitol activities. The Minnesota House of Representatives Public Information Services offers nonpartisan recaps of high-profile bills, committee hearings, and floor sessions with their Session Daily publication. Subscribe to receive these here. To track bills of interest through the legislative process, I encourage you to utilize the MyBills feature on the Minnesota House of Representatives’ website.  

Please continue to reach out with any input, ideas, or feedback about the issues important to you. I value hearing from you, so please don’t hesitate to call or email me any time. You can find my information on my House website. Also, make sure to ‘like’ my Facebook page.

It is an honor to represent you at the State Capitol.


Jerry Newton

State Representative


Representative Jerry Newton

367 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Saint Paul, Minnesota 55155

Phone: 651-296-1729
Email: (replies to this newsletter are not monitored)
Legislative Assistant: Robin Schmidt, 651-296-8197