Great Start for All Minnesota Children Act (HF 1) Short-Term Battles Won; Long-Term Battles Remain
For once, MACC had a session without our own bill in committee hearings and could take a deeper look into the workings at the Capitol. What we found out was chilling!
As you know, the Great Start for All Minnesota Children Act, was advanced by the DFL in the House, as the most important bill of the session, House File 1, and most important to our governor. Not long after, we found a good handful of Republicans were also interested in these very same initiatives and promoted Senate companion bills. (A few also work on prenatal to 3 policy “pet projects” outside the Capitol.)
Great Start outlined an entire web of programs from prenatal care wrapped up with increasing immunization rates to home visits with expanded funding to a new treasury account to fund babies, birth to 3 and their participation in schools by way of government assistance. We reported on the trend across the country to put as many children on assistance as possible, and for HF 1, assistance at almost any economic level!
The foundation was set with prenatal care, home visits and babies in schools, and then expanded to include a myriad of programs, regulations and more grants. In total, Great Start reached a whopping 35 pages of madness and stretched across education, health, higher education and jobs omnibus bills.
Add the CCAP fraud language, Early Learning Scholarship DHS kick-backs and Human Capital Bonds using our children’s personal identity for investment on the open market, and you have major red flag government and corporate corruption.
FIRST, THANK YOU TO ALL MACC MEMBERS & FRIENDS who called and emailed, standing up for parental rights, families and local control. It really does make a difference when so many voice their opinion to such a radical plan. You were heard because we did have some good resolution to portions of HF 1. You can be sure that portions not passed will be back next session. MACC would like to see lobbying days once a month where we can meet with our constituent legislators and talk with committee chairs.
Key Points: Battles Won; Battles Lost
- HOME VISITS FOR PREGNANT WOMEN AND YOUNG CHILDREN (Article 2)
Thank you, Senators, for NOT adopting the original language of HF 1/SF 909. To recap, HF 1/SF 909 stated that all parents would be REQUIRED to have home visits prenatally to the 3rd birthday of their child as tied to government assistance, Early Learning Scholarships.
However, language from Rep. Bahner’s HF 1226 Home Visit bill, was adopted to include new policy language, “experimental and quasi-experimental” initiatives within several grants in the Health Omnibus bill. The grants are unspecific as to how they’ll be used, and thus, the commissioner likely has sway over development and implementation of funding.
FUNDING: A hefty amount of home visiting appropriations are in both Health & Education Omnibus. Remember that home visit programs are already present in Minnesota. The MDE has stated that Help Me Grow home visit referral system is being expanded for greater community coverage. All the legislature really needed here was funding and they got it!
- BIRTH TO 3 INITIATIVE (Article 3)
Again, thank you, Senators, for NOT lowering the age for Early Learning Scholarships from 3 down to BIRTH. Statutory language will remain at 3 years old with younger siblings from one. MACC has reported all session on this nationwide trend to place as many kids as possible on assistance from birth.
- PRENATAL CARE w/ INCREASING IMMUNIZATION RATES FOR ADULTS & CHILDREN (Article 1)
HF 1/SF 855 was passed in both the House and Senate. MACC’s concern regards the incremental removal of individual and parental rights when on assistance. It is understandable if some need to go on assistance, yet their rights should not be encumbered. This was a battle loss!
- GREAT START FUND (Article 3)
The Early Learning Scholarship Account is established in the special revenue fund and was the account mentioned in HF 1, as subdivision of Great Start Fund. Though the term, “Great Start Fund” is not used, the purpose is to fund continuous Early Learning Scholarships and at all economic levels. This is the funding behind that basic plan in HF 1/SF 30, et all, to fund assistance for babies and toddlers. MACC questions the amount of testing and screening that will be utilized in this program. You can be sure that the “carrot and stick” approach will be employed when on assistance.
- GREATER MINNESOTA CHILDCARE FACILITY CAPITAL GRANT PROGRAM (Article 5)
This program grants monies for land acquisition, purchase of building, pre-design and design of new or existing buildings, etc. Additionally, this program will set up community childcare programs outside the Metro which are Parent Aware aligned only. With the grant comes strings.
On more general fronts, per pupil spending was increased by 2% or $20 billion in appropriations. This is a $543 million increase from prior year.
Special Education funding for 20-21: $25.4 million and 22-23: $65.2 million.
Voluntary Pre-K and School Readiness Plus is funded for another 2 years. The Senate wished to make these programs permanent and convert to Early Learning Scholarships. However, that was not in the cards.
Thankfully, radical policy did not become law regarding home visits and birth to 3 free child care for All. On the other hand, expanded funding for Early Learning Scholarships, home visits and many grants programs did occur. In the end, it is a mixed bag where both sides are funding government assistance and not only for those who might need assitance. No doubt many legislators have very good hearts, but the people of Minnesota were not ready to dive deep with heavy policy steeped in socialistic programming. We hope that day never comes!