Education Policy Committee Hears School Lead Testing Bill

ST. PAUL, Minn. – On Monday, the Education Policy Committee heard testimony on legislation to adjust and fund lead testing and remediation requirements in schools’ water systems (SF 579). Chief author Senator Erin Maye Quade (DFL-Apple Valley) testified in support of the bill alongside Josh Downham of Minneapolis Public Schools, who also spoke on behalf of six educational organizations, including the Association of Metropolitan School Districts and Schools for Equity in Education.

“Water at our students drink at school should be lead-free. By the time most of our students graduate from high school, they will have spent more than 15,000 hours in school,” said Senator Maye Quade. “With newer health data, we know that children are most vulnerable to the damaging effects of lead because their bodies are still developing, and they absorb more of the harmful effects of metal than adults do.”

The bill would lower the acceptable lead levels from 15 parts per billion—which is higher than the majority of other states—to 5 parts per billion; create a statewide reporting system on lead testing and remediation in schools; and allocate funding to help schools meet the heightened requirements. In a national survey, around 37% of schools that tested for lead found elevated levels (defined as higher than 5 parts per billion), but there is no statewide data on lead levels in Minnesota school water because there is no system for tracking such data.

The committee referred SF 579 to the Education Finance Committee on a voice vote.

Please see attached photos of Sen. Erin Maye Quade and Josh Downham in the committee hearing on Jan. 30.


Senator Erin Maye Quade represents Senate District 56 which includes Apple Valley, Eagan, and Rosemount. She is vice chair of the Education Policy Committee, and serves on the Education Finance Committee, Human Services Committee, and the State and Local Government and Veterans Committee.
Learn more about Sen. Maye Quade.
Senator Erin Maye Quade on EmailSenator Erin Maye Quade on Twitter