Action Packed Wednesday. Wednesday is a wall-to-wall education day with all four education-related committees scheduled to meet. Only three managed to meet today as the Senate Education Policy Committee that was slated to hear from students and student support personnel on the issue of student mental health and school environments post-pandemic. The full Senate took up and passed the tax conformity bill–HF 31— that passed the House floor earlier this week and is now on its way to the Governor’s desk. In an aside, it is interesting that the Legislature is wasting no time in getting some of last year’s unfinished business taken care of, like the federal tax conformity bill, as quickly as possible. There are other bills that the DFL majority is putting on a fast track, making this one of the busier Januarys we’ve seen in years.
The Senate Education Finance Committee heard from students from throughout the state this morning and the House Education Finance Committee finished up its crash course on education finance laws and formulas and then heard from the Minnesota Department of Education.
The late afternoon saw the House Education Policy Committee pass two bills out of committee and re-refer them to the House Education Finance Committee. The first was HF 5, Representative Sydney Jordan’s bill that would provide free breakfast and lunch to all Minnesota elementary and secondary school students. This is a costly measure as it would provide meals to many students who are currently not qualified for free-or-reduced price lunch. An amendment was offered by Representative Krista Knudsen (R-Lake Shore) that would have raised the income threshold at which families would qualify for free meals, but that amendment was defeated on a party-line vote. The bill now moves to the House Education Finance Committee.
The second bill to move was HF 44 authored by Representative Sandra Feist that would provide free menstrual products to students in need of them and would increase the operating capital funding formula to provide school districts with the means to cover the cost of the products. This language was contained in the House’s version of the omnibus education funding and policy bill was last year and will likely meet with the same urgency and success in the Senate as it has in the House.
Bill Introductions–Wednesday, January 11, 2023. The Senate met today and the following bills were introduced:
Guitar Great Jeff Beck Passes Away. Some in my blog-following crowd always demand more music insights and song suggestions from me and I just can’t avoid mentioning the passing of British guitarist Jeff Beck. From his time in the Yardbirds, the Jeff Beck Group (featuring Rod Stewart and Ronnie Wood), the Beck, Bogart, and Appice trio, and his solo career and countless contributions in the studio, he was a true visionary. One of my joys as a guitarist who is not that good but good enough to realize how talented really good guitar players are, I always marveled at not only Beck’s clean technique, but his ability to get unimaginable sounds out of his guitar. Notice also, in the video below, that he only rarely used a guitar pick and instead used his thumb, which is almost unheard of in rock music.