One of the early victories of this legislative session was the passage of a bill to allocate $20 million for research on amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, is the most common type of motor neuron disease, but over 90% of cases have no known cause. This bill provides for grants administered by the Office of Higher Education into innovations and outcomes with the goal of bettering the lives of individuals with ALS. This bill also invests $5 million in support programs for family caregivers of individuals with ALS. This represents a significant investment into a disease that very little is still known about, and will hopefully shed some light on this devastating illness. (SF 3372)
DID NOT PASS
Higher Education Omnibus bill
As Minnesota students continue to take on mountains of debt to complete college degrees, and struggle even to pay the bills while they do, and as postsecondary education becomes all but necessary to our future economy, it is disappointing that no support was provided. Although an agreement was reached, and the House passed the bill, the Senate did not.
The bill that was agreed on would’ve spent $20 million in FY23, not nearly enough to meet the significant needs that we know exist, but did include some important priorities such as an increase to the living and miscellaneous expense allowance of the State Grant program, continued support of a program to recruit and train Certified Nursing Assistants, a needed operating and maintenance for our Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, and an expansion of workforce development scholarships and Hunger-Free Campus grants.
The bill would’ve also made important policy changes that would’ve benefitted college students across the state. Importantly, this bill included a requirement that all colleges and universities in Minnesota establish an affirmative consent standard with regards to sexual harassment and assault – a standard that could not be more critical. It also established an Inclusive Higher Education Technical Assistance Center and grants to assist students with disabilities, and changes to the process of election members of the University of Minnesota Board of Regents. (HF 3872)