News on the Special Sessions
The second 2020 Special Session ended in the early morning on July 21.
The bonding bill - SSHF3 - contained $17 million in increased referendum equalization. Unfortunately, politics got in the way of passing the $1.8 billion bonding/taxes bill, which not only is it essential to provide and maintain needed infrastructure across the state, but also acts as an economic stimulus package that will put people back to work. The bill did not pass.
The first 2020 Special Session ended at 6:00 a.m. on Saturday, June 20.
Special Session: SSHF33 - Education Policy Omnibus Bill - a sparse education policy bill, was passed in the Senate (Vote: 67-0) and the House (Vote: 117-9) and and signed by the Governor.
The 2020 Legislative Session ended.
HF4415 - Education Covid-19 Education bill as amended passed in the legislature on 5/17/20 and signed by the governor on 5/27/20.
HF331 - raises the minimum age to purchase tobacco and electronic delivery devices from 18 to 21 years old, and increases penalties for illegally selling or providing these products to underage users. Most students who use e-cigarettes get them from their 18 to 20-year-old peers. Increasing the age gap between people old enough to purchase nicotine products and middle and high school students will help keep these products out of schools. This new law will take effect on 8/1/20.
Following are Selected Education-related Bills of Interest (of these, only HF4415 above passed.)
HF4415 - Legislative Covid-19 Education Aid Proposals
Both the House and Senate bills include the following provisions.
- Provides full funding for the 2019-20 school year adjusting funding streams that use various measurements such as student contact hours or bus route miles to calculate revenue.
- Gives flexibility in transferring revenue from different fund balances to pay for salaries and costs associated with moving to distance learning.
- Requires that teacher candidates who completed coursework requirements but could not complete required licensure exams due to coronavirus to receive a provisional license and extends the time by 6 months for teachers to meet the requirements to renew their license.
- Instructs MDE to direct the discretionary federal coronavirus aid equitably to school districts to pay for the cost associated with the transforming to distance learning.
- Provides cash flow assistance to school districts that cannot make debt service payments for school building bonds due to a delay in receiving property tax proceeds.
Provisions in the Senate language only.
- Includes the February 2020 forecast adjustments. This will allow schools to plan for the 2020-21 school year, knowing what funding they will receive from the state.
- Requires the inclusion of information on construction and skilled trades into career counseling services in middle and high school. The provision was agreed upon last session but failed to make it into the final bill.
Provisions only in the House language.
- Requires school districts to pay hourly employees and contract workers (i.e., paraprofessionals and contracted bus drivers) based on their schedule hours from before the coronavirus hit.
- Allows high school seniors to graduate and students to move to the next grade level in fall by waiving certain requirements around the required number of instructional hours, credits, and state graduation requirements.