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Legislative Update from Rep. Sondra Erickson

Friday, March 23, 2018

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

It was another busy week at the legislature as the first committee deadline was Thursday. This means that any legislation with hopes of becoming law this year had to have received at least one committee hearing by midnight, Thursday.

On Tuesday, the Education Innovation Policy Committee passed its omnibus bill. As Chair of this committee and chief-author of this legislation, I was proud of the work and reforms that were included in this year’s bill.

There were a number of provisions in the bill that work to improve the educational experience for students. Here is a brief recap of a few of the provisions included:

  • requiring school districts to include sexual exploitation prevention instruction in a health curriculum
  • requiring the Department of Education to develop an academic achievement rating system that assigns each school and district a star rating and an academic achievement score
  • imposing new requirements on technology providers, and on schools that contract with technology providers, to protect student data
  • establishing a special education working group
  • requiring a school transmitting a transferring student’s educational records to a new school to include information about the student’s withdrawal and services he or she needs to prevent inappropriate behavior from reoccurring
  • requiring schools to inform high school students about the full range of military career options offered by the United States Armed Forces
  • allowing 10th grade students to enroll in Post-Secondary Enrollment Options (PSEO)

Also taking place this week was the passage of emergency MNLARS funding. As many of you know, the state’s MNLARS system has been a disaster since its rollout in July.

With nearly $100 million spent over ten years  on this system, it has been extremely disappointing to see the problems plaguing MNLARS. Minnesota taxpayers deserve better.

The legislation was approved by the House on a 124-6 vote and provides $10 million in emergency funding to help get the program back on track. Included with the funding were important reforms that increase transparency and accountability.

The governor is expected to sign the legislation into law sometime this weekend.

That’s all for this week’s update. As always, please do not hesitate to reach out to me if you have any questions or concerns regarding a matter related to state government. I can be reached by phone at 651-296-6746 or via email at rep.sondra.erickson@house.mn.

Have a great weekend,

Sondra

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