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