SAINT PAUL, Minn. – Today, the Minnesota House of Representatives Children and Families Finance and Policy Committee advanced three bills which would make substantial investments in child care and early learning, a major legislative and gubernatorial priority this session. The bills, authored by committee chair Rep. Dave Pinto (DFL-St. Paul) and Rep. Maria Isa Pérez-Vega (DFL-St. Paul), focus on immediate steps to help families and stabilize this critical sector in advance of the budget process.
“Our committee is determined to give the youngest Minnesotans a great start – we all benefit when that happens,” said Rep. Pinto. “There is much more work to do, but this is a big step forward to help parents to work, employers to expand, and children to learn, now and long into the future.”
HF 13 authored by Rep. Pinto, would increase rates for the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) to the 75th percentile, the full required rate for this federal program; Minnesota’s current rates are some of the lowest in the country. HF 150, also authored by Rep. Pinto, would provide $40 million in early learning scholarships for about 4,000 low-income children from birth through age 4, as well as reverse forthcoming cuts to monthly stabilization payments received by child care providers, both through the end of the biennium in June. Finally, HF 456 would make permanent 4,000 preschool slots statewide currently that are currently scheduled to expire this summer.
"Our Minnesota preschool kids deserve high-quality care, education and cooperative development, with skills and opportunities to enter on a preparedness for their kindergarten class,” said Rep. Pérez-Vega. “The legislation I’m carrying will ensure that these learners and their families can continue to receive this vital support. "
HF 13 and HF 150 are already scheduled for hearings on Monday in the Committee on Ways & Means. HF 456 was referred to the Committee on Education Finance.