With only weeks left in the 2014 session, the Senate has been busy making Minnesota a better place for all. The Senate has passed key investments in health and human services, education, veterans and transportation.
The Senate fully funded the 5% Campaign, which proposed a five percent raise for home-and-community based caregivers. These workers make up 90,000 caregivers across the State of Minnesota, and increasing their wages will make a big difference in rural communities in Northern Minnesota. The increase will help maintaining quality care by giving workers a raise attempting to stem the amount of turnover, which will help maintain the high quality of care our most vulnerable citizens deserve.
Another key piece of legislation we’re working on includes investments for early childhood education. These investments include nearly $9 million for early childhood family education and $3.3 million for school readiness aid. This money will help ensure kids are prepared for kindergarten. An additional $10.2 million is invested in K-12 academic achievement programs like Reading Corp, English Language Learner and Teacher Evaluation. These programs will help children gain literacy proficiency, and extends the English language learner program for children ages 5 to 6.
Taking care of Minnesota veterans was also addressed by the Senate this year. The State Departments and Veterans Budget division allocated $731,000 in veterans funding, including $206,000 to help ensure transitioning military service members and their spouses will be provided with a temporary license to practice in Minnesota. This legislation aims at simplifying both the moving and employment process for service members and their families.
This winter was tough on Minnesota’s roads. The Transportation committee invested $8 million to the base funding for Greater Minnesota Transit, while $43 million was invested into state road’s operations.
The final weeks will be dedicated to wrapping up conference committees and passing a bonding bill. This bill will create thousands of jobs while investing in Minnesota’s future.