MACC MOMENT in TIME REPORT- Omnibus Bills Begin their “Horse Trading”

horse trading
MACC *MOMENT IN TIME REPORT*  Horse Trading Begins
The Conference Committees meet this week so amendments may be added and/or language removed from the Omnibus bills.
Friends, MACC has studied the Omnibus bills going into conference committee. First, THANK YOU for your calls and emails into both the House and Senate. They have definitely helped but we are not out of the woods yet!
Hopefully you’ve been following along since the beginning of the session when we showed you that:
*Home visits would be required for 3.75 years if begun prenatally
*The Great Start Fund would be established for Early Learning Scholarships
*Birth to 3 initiative would be established within the early learning scholarships (Additionally, various groups where legislators are engage, want all children in schools at birth.)
*Early learning scholarships would be greatly expanded
*Home visits are already established within Minnesota and the Help Me Grow visit referral system may refer without parental consent to your local school district.
*The Greater Minnesota Facilities grant would fund all aspects of setting up new daycares but only if working with Parent Aware. These new childcares would help replace those forced out by the government. (Parent Aware via government rigged the early learning market by creating a monopoly for only certain kinds of childcare.)
that’s just some of the components of the 7-pg morphing into 35-pg, Great Start for All Minnesota Children Act, known as House File 1 and its various companion component pieces in the Senate.
As the Conference Committee moves to “trade a few horses” and mesh the House and Senate bills together, let’s compare where we stand now.  The check mark defines a policy from HF 1 that is still in either House or Senate omnibus.
Birth to 3 Babies-Toddlers Initiative  √
The House language remains at “Birth to age 3” and the Senate language is “atleast 3 years to 5 (with change to 6)”.  Thanks to Senate leadership for sticking to the 3 year old language. These age levels will be conferenced together.
Early Learning Scholarship Requirements √
In the House, early learning scholarship eligibility:  The childcare provider “MUST”:
(1) participate in the QRIS (quality rating improvement system) [ie. Parent Aware]
(2) beginning July 1, 2020 have a 3 or 4-star rating in the QRIS (Parent Aware).
In the Senate, early learning scholarship eligibility. The childcare provider “MUST”:
(1) participate in the QRIS (quality rating improvement system) [ie. Parent Aware]
(2) beginning in July 1, 2021 have a 3 to 4-star rating in the QRIS (Parent Aware)
Take-away #1: Both chambers move to make Parent Aware a requirement by 2020 in the House or 2021 in the Senate.  These timelines will be conferenced.
Take-away #2: Any federal or state government program has the power to change policy and regulation at will.  What requirements are mandated today may not be the requirements of tomorrow.  For this reason, MACC would encourage the legislature to not take over various industries or professions.
GREAT START FUND √
The Great Start Fund was purposed for setting up a early learning scholarship fund in the original HF 1.
Subd. 16 (in both House and Senate)
(a) account established in special revenue fund known as “early learning scholarship account.”
(b) Funds appropriated for early scholarships (MUST -House) (SHALL-Senate) be transferred to early learning scholarship account in special revenue fund.
(c) Money in account annually appropriated to commissioner for early learning scholarships. Any returned funds are available to be granted.
(d) $950,000 annually appropriated to commissioner for administering and monitoring early learning scholarships.  [This amount is in addition to the early learning scholarships themselves.)
Home Visits √
The entirety of HF 1, Article 2, Home Visits is embedded into the House Omnibus.  Though Senator Relph chief authored SF 1438: Home Visits for Pregnant Women and Young Children et all. (co-authored by Senators Eichorn and Abeler), that bill was never picked up in the Senate.  SF 1438 was an exact replica to HF 1.  This may be due mostly to your good calls!!  However, this situation will be conferenced.
Funding/appropriations are very, very important in the home visit area.  Home visits are already part of state statute and the House made it clear that home visits would be greatly expanded.  Contacts within the MDE stated that Help Me Grow home visit referral system is set to expand throughout the state.  So, the machine has been built behind the scenes and is ready for implementation.  All we really need in this area is a lot of funding!
400% of Federal Poverty Income Level for CCAP ⊗
300% of Federal Poverty Income Level for Early Learning Scholarships ?
The 400% figure did not fly! That’s over $100,000 annual income for a family of 4!  Take-away:  The House wished to place a large percentage of the population on assistance through free childcare from the CCAP program.  This figure stands at 185% as in the prior year in both chambers.
We’ve not seen the exact percentage with the Early Learning Scholarships but we do know that they have been expanded in both House and Senate.
Greater Minnesota Facilities Grant _√
The Greater Minnesota Facilities Grant program is found in both House and Senate Jobs Omnibus bill.
We’ll report once we’ve studied the conference committee conclusions.  However you look at it, the Omnibus bill system is a legislative free-for-all because rarely do constituents know which legislator authored any particular bill.  Secondarily, it is impossible for legislators to keep up with each Omnibus and each new bill or amended/repealed section and how that effects a statute.
In the end, our children are worth a lot more than trading horses for party pet projects.