The 2020 Legislative Session Begins
The 2020 Legislative session begins on February 11! While this is the “short” session focused on bonding and policy, there is already a whirlwind of activity related to early childhood issues.
The current state budget is already set through June 2021, but news of a $1.3 billion surplus has allowed lawmakers to discuss potential additions. The next budget forecast later this month will be used to update this amount and guide final budget decisions.
Top of the list across many advocacy coalitions is increasing the reimbursement rate for the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP). Not only has this rate been woefully low since it was cut in 2003, but Minnesota is now out of compliance with the federal government for not meeting the minimum threshold. We know that these low rates harm recruitment and retention of early childhood educators and limit child care access for families.
Because it is a bonding year, the Governor has proposed $10 million to build and sustain early education facilities. This is another important way to grow and stabilize the child care system. The Chair of the House Early Childhood Finance and Policy Division has also filed a bill (HF 3071) that will address multiple issues impacting the field, including more funding for CCAP reimbursement rates and payments, home visiting, early learning scholarships, work force supports, and continued funding for Voluntary Pre-K.
Finally, the interim report of the Family Child Care Task Force will be delivered to the Legislature next month. While this task force will continue to work on its assigned duties, there are some initial steps related to child care licensing that are likely to be recommended for action.
Be sure to follow our legislative updates and bill tracker to keep up with this fast-moving legislative session!