Valerie Dosland
Government Affairs Director
Ewald Consulting
MASA Lobbyist

The 2023 legislative session was marked by a DFL trifecta in power, a determined and diverse group of elected officials with ambitious agendas, and a pent-up list of unfinished business from previous sessions. The DFL majority was focused on making significant changes leading to an unprecedented pace of legislative activity and a high volume of bill introductions, hearings, and bills passed into law, far exceeding past legislative sessions. The 2023 session also marked a milestone as work returned to in-person after three years of mostly remote work.

With a remarkable budget surplus and support from the Governor and the Legislature, the 2023 legislative session provided us with opportunities to advance MASA’s long-standing legislative priorities, some of which we have been advocating for years to pass. We made progress on many of these priorities, including linking future increases in the general education formula to inflation, granting school boards the ability to renew existing operating referendums by board vote, and reducing the special education and English learner cross-subsidies.

However, this session also presented its fair share of challenges. While the $17.5 billion budget surplus was unlike any in the state’s history, just $5 billion was considered ongoing. The Governor and the Legislature had a long list of competing budget priorities, including funding for public education, child care, nursing homes, and eliminating social security taxes. It was clear $5 billion would not go far and we needed to advocate for education funding as a top priority.

We also encountered legislative proposals that sought to dictate how schools are managed and proposals that fell short of fully funding new employee benefits. These included matters related to collective bargaining, managerial rights, unemployment insurance for hourly school employees, paid family medical leave, earned safe and sick time, teacher preparation time, tiered licensure changes, student discipline, employee health insurance cost-sharing, mandated minimum starting salary for non-licensed school personnel, and new graduation requirements. While some of these proposals became law, others did not progress.

Throughout the session, your advocacy was pivotal in advancing our priorities and addressing the challenges we faced. Your efforts helped legislators understand the importance of funding our key priorities and educate them on the potential impact other measures could have on school districts, students, and communities. We greatly appreciate your involvement and engagement in this session!

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