This week we can expect legislative committees to have long agendas focused on passing bills ahead of the first committee deadline, which is scheduled for Friday, March 15. In order for a bill to advance this session, committees must act favorably on policy bills in the house of origin by the first deadline. The deadline that finance bills must be out of committee is not until April 12.
Both the Senate and House higher education committees will be taking up a variety of bills this week, including bills that would freeze tuition, amend the state grant program, provide for mental health services on college campuses, support programs of college admission and graduation for low-income students, and loan forgiveness for aviation students and mental health professionals. The complete committee agendas can be found below. The House Higher Education Finance and Policy committee meets today and Wednesday. The Senate Higher Education Finance and Policy committee meets today and Thursday.
Yesterday, the House passed HF 232, by a unanimous vote of 123-0. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Jeanne Poppe, DFL-Austin, provides additional mental health counseling and advocacy services for farmers, their families and agriculture businesses. The bill appropriates $100,000, which includes $15,000 to the Minnesota State Board of Trustees to increase compensation for the counselor currently providing statewide mental health counseling support to farm families and business operators through the Minnesota State Agricultural Center of Excellence. An additional $40,000 is appropriated to the Board of Trustees to provide additional statewide mental health counseling support to farm families and business operators. $30,000 is for farmer mental health marketing and training coordination, and $15,000 is to increase funding for farm advocate services and farmer-lender mediators. The bill heads next to the Senate.
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