House Committee Meets to Discuss Higher Ed Capital Improvement & Requirements for Disability Services Documentation

By: Jaiden Leary, Community Journalist-in-Training

In March. 19th meeting of the House Higher Education Finance and Policy committee, Rep. Gene Pelowski (DFL-26A) introduced House File 1630, which aims to eliminate the one-third user financing requirement for future capital improvement projects at public postsecondary institutions. Later on House File 4565 was introduced by Rep. Jessica Hanson (DFL-55A) which aims to specify higher education students with disability documentation and other requirements. 

The first bill: House File 1630 was moved and motioned to be moved to Capital Investments Committee. 

“My concern is that we put the University of Minnesota together with Min State, when were removing the one-third obligation. They are very different systems as we’ve been discussing for decades about their inability and ability to raise additional funds. The University of Minnesota has a different capacity than the Min State system.” Rep. Marion Rarick (R – 29B) said when discussing the fiscal feasibility of proposal 

“We have a duty and a responsibility to all the students, this reduces the financial burden on our students.” Rep. Ginny Kelvorn (DFL – 42B) said whilst addressing the previous comment. 

The proposal was passed five to four moving to the committee of Capital Investment. 

The next bill: House File 4565 (Rise Act), when first introduced was an amendment, with conversation around the bill itself following after. 

Representative Hanson with an opening statement. “House File 4565, is the Minnesota respond innovate succeed and empower, or Rise Act, to ensure students with disabilities on campuses around the state are supported with an accessible and consistent accommodation process. Every student with disabilities should have an inclusive higher education experience,” said Hanson. 

“Our current systems are not optimized to ensure there is a consistent procedure throughout the state to provide these services to students with disabilities. This bill will ensure that each campus adopts and disseminates a transparent explicit policy in plain language for admitted and enrolled students to self-disclose their disability status and or accommodation needs,” Hanson said.

“To initiate an interactive process for reasonable accommodations, every student should feel like they belong in college and getting help with accommodations can be daunting and frankly can sometimes require a lot of courage and support to effectively self advocate for themselves on campus. This Bill will make securing accommodations on campus less discouraging, more welcoming, more supportive and constantand, and less burdensome with a simple documentation and revelation requirements.” said Hanson. 

After testimony from various people, the bill was not voted on so a revision suggested during the conversation could be made.

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