St. Paul, Minn. (April 10, 2018) — Both the House and Senate were on recess for the Easter/Passover holidays the past week. As they come back into session, here’s an update on what happened before their break.
Healthcare interpreters registry bill presented to first committee, but dies before second committee.
Nearly 11 percent of Minnesotans (ages 5 and older) speak a language other than English at home. An estimated 213,100 residents have a limited ability to speak, read, write, or understand English. Research shows that high-quality spoken language health care interpretation services result in improved health outcomes for limited English proficient (LEP) patients.
Under a proposed law, spoken language healthcare interpreters receiving Medicaid reimbursement, would have to demonstrate a minimum competency of passing a proficiency test or completing 40 hours of training, and maintain their education with classes every year. Interpreters could also obtain a national certification and register as a “Certified Interpreter”.
The bill (HF2023/SF1708) was thoroughly discussed in the Health and Human Services Reform committee of the House, and was passed to the Government Operations and Elections Policy committee. The bill was withdrawn from the Government Operations committee calendar. The Council will continue to engage key stakeholders regarding this legislation in the coming weeks.
Colleges and Universities of Minnesota may now have all textbooks under $40.
“Many college students have to choose between a basic standard of living and affording textbooks.” Testimonies such as these were heard from students from all over Minnesota representing college and university students as they advocated for a bill that would push colleges to use open educational resources, digital resources and more affordable materials.
The bill would require colleges to submit and execute a plan to make all course materials affordable by 2020. Currently, many students may go weeks into the course without buying the textbook or even drop the course after being unable to afford the materials. “A book should never be the reason a student drops out of college.” said students to Chair Nornes in the House’s Higher Education committee.
The bill (HF3985/SF3098) passed through the Higher Education and Careeer Readiness Policy and Finance committee and received a second reading on the Senate floor.
Grow Your Own Program for teachers given more funding this session.
Minnesota is severely lacking in teachers of color and American Indian teachers (TOCAITs). The proportion of TOCAITs totals 4 percent, while the proportion of students of color or American Indian descent is over 30 percent and increasing. As Minnesota adapts to demographic changes, the State’s success will be ensured by implementing targeted interventions that address the specific needs of students of color and American Indian students.
Grow Your Own programs are one such intervention. If a school districts has significant populations of students of color and American Indian students, they are provided with funds to train their own teachers using innovative residency programs, provide stipends and tuition payments to TOCAIT candidates, and encourage high school students to pursue teaching degrees. The demand for these programs ($2.7 million) currently exceeds the amount of funding available ($1.2 million).
A bill (HF3206/SF3340) would increase the amount of funding available in 2019 to $5 million to match expected demand. They are part of a larger movement to increase the number of TOCAITs in Minnesota. The bill was heard in the Senate in its first committee, recommended to pass, and sent to its second committee (E-12 Finance) on May 27th.
The API Day at the Capitol rally has been cancelled.
On behalf of our Board Chair, it is with heavy hearts that we announce the cancellation of the API Day at the Capitol rally, taking place on April 12, 2018. In his statement to the Council, Chair Maeda stated “API Day is about celebrating CAPM’s unique role in the public policy arena. It’s also about celebrating the common bond that exists across our diverse communities. And above all else, it is about helping our community members learn more about participating in the process.”
Based on the recommendations of the Chair, if we cannot provide our communities with a fundamentally welcoming experience for all, it is unfair to attendees that we proceed with the event.
Please continue to schedule and attend any legislative visits set-up for API Day at the Capitol!