Growing prosperity in greater minnesota

Lawmakers take action on child care regulations, but new funding proposals fall by the wayside

The GMNP advocated for three pieces of legislation this session that aimed at reducing the child care shortage in Greater Minnesota: funding for initiative foundations to help provide training to expand access to quality child care; a program modeled after the BDPI grant program which could assist communities to build, upgrade or expand facilities; and additional funding for the Greater Minnesota Child Care Grants Program to increase child care availability.

The latter bill, sponsored by Rep. Dave Baker (R-Willmar), ultimately gained traction. Originally started as a modest investment in the 2017 session targeted at helping providers expand, this grant program saw large results – creating more than 300 new child care slots with only $500,000 in funding. However, additional funding for this program fell victim to end-of-session maneuvering: the GOP combined several bills into one large supplemental budget bill, hoping to force the Governor’s hand on several provisions. The Governor vetoed the bill last week. Continue reading

Notes from the Capitol: Legislative Update

The 2018 legislative session is rapidly coming to a close. The State Constitution requires the session to end on Monday, but it also requires that bills be passed no later than midnight on Sunday. Here is where some of the top issues currently stand:

Capital investment bill – The House passed their capital investment bill (“bonding bill”) with bipartisan support on Monday. However, the Senate failed to pass their version of the bill. The vote was 34-33, with all Republicans voting yes and all Democrats voting no. The bill failed since the capital investment bill requires that 60% of the body must vote yes in order for it to pass. In the Senate, that means the bill needs at least 41 votes to pass. The DFL members want a larger bill, closer in size to Governor Dayton’s $1.5 billion proposal.

With only a few days left to reach an agreement, it remains unclear whether lawmakers will be able to negotiate a deal and pass a bonding bill this session. Continue reading