This week was a busy one at the Capitol as we are now taking action on many bills on the House Floor, including passage of our school safety and education reforms. Enjoy the great weather outside and have a nice weekend.
Rep. Quam with a group of students from Byron Middle School
Education Bill Prioritizing School Safety Passes House
On Thursday, the House passed bipartisan education legislation on a vote of 94-29 that puts students first. House File 4328 prioritizes school and student safety, increases transparency in school finance and performance reporting, and helps prepare kids for a bright and successful future.
In this bill, we provide critical resources and flexibility for our schools to address student safety and mental health. I am proud of our commitment to ensuring every Minnesota student has access to a world-class education.
Highlights in the education portion of the bill include:
- Championing a multifaceted approach to give school districts the resources and flexibility they need to address student safety and security. That includes expanding the use of long-term facilities maintenance revenue for facility security upgrades, strengthening the state’s commitment to school-linked mental health grants, supporting suicide prevention training for teachers, increasing funding for Safe Schools Revenue, and more
- Strengthening and clarifying state law to address teacher misconduct and teacher licensure including prohibiting sexual relationships between educators and students, even if that student is 18; requiring periodic teacher background checks; and prohibiting the issuance or renewal of a teacher/administrative license or bus driver endorsement for certain felonies or gross misdemeanors involving a minor
- Requiring the Minnesota Department of Education to create a School Report Card —a one-stop-spot for summative and easily accessible school and district ratings that will provide families with a place to research, compare and help determine which school will work best for their child
- Enhancing the transparency of school funding and our commitment to tackling our state’s achievement gap by doubling the number of school audits each year. These audits will discern whether or not education dollars allocated to school districts and dedicated to special education, English-learner and low-income students are reaching the students intended
- Ensuring students are exposed to a wide variety of post-secondary options including the trades and branches of the military
- Strengthening laws that protect kids from school lunch shaming
- Creating a Special Education Working Group to engage stakeholders and examine the factors that are driving rising costs
A number of higher education provisions are also included in the package. Highlights include measures to fund student loan debt counseling, bring new sexual harassment reporting requirements and policies to the University of Minnesota, and to back a textbook affordability initiative.
National Prescription Drug Take Back Day
This Saturday, April 28th is National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. Nearly 400 Minnesotans died last year as a result of opioid overdoses. If you have unneeded or expired prescription drugs at home, you can drop them off at a safe, legal collection site in your community from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. local time. No questions asked. Find a location here.
DARE Poster Contest
As part of the DARE program, students from all over the state entered in a poster contest and we had many students from schools in our district finish in the top 20 statewide! Congrats to Gianna Brewer of Byron for taking 1st, Catelyn Boher of Kasson-Mantorville for taking 3rd, Clara Pierce of Byron for taking 10th, Will Sorensen of Kasson-Mantorville for taking 16th, and Olivia Weber of Triton for taking 17th. It's fantastic to have such talented young people in our community!
Meetings Since My Last Update
Since my last update, I had the great opportunity to meet with so many people and groups interested in what is going on at the legislature. This week I was able to meet with students and teachers Byron Middle School during their visit to the Capitol. It was great to see so many young people interested in their government.
Please continue to stay in touch to share your thoughts and ideas on issues important to you. You can schedule a time to meet with me in my office anytime by calling (651) 296-9236, or share your thoughts via email by emailing me at email@example.com
Have a great weekend,