Education Spending and Policy Bill Passes State House

April 26, 2018 08:45 PM

A major E-12 and higher education policy and funding omnibus bill, House File 4328, passed the Minnesota House Thursday night after several hours of debate.

It marks the first of the omnibus bills this session to make it to the House floor. And it includes two pieces of legislation fueled by recent 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS investigations.

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The bill passed 94-29 and will move on to the Senate.

Rep. Jenifer Loon's legislation included in the bill would require the previous Board of Teaching, now known as PELSB, to report accusations of sexual misconduct to law enforcement authorities.

Last fall, a 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS investigation found the board failed to report at least 17 teachers accused of engaging in sexual misconduct or inappropriate behavior with students dating back to the 1980s, according to records.

RELATED: State Board Failed to Report Teachers Accused of Sexual Misconduct

The board had argued it was not required to report those allegations at the time.

The proposed new law supported by Loon, R-Eden Prairie, and Rep. Jim Davnie, DFL-St. Paul, would make PELSB and the Board of School Administrators mandated reporters.

RELATED: Teaching Board's Failure to Report Educator Misconduct Sparks Legislative Action

Back in November, 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS found 14 teachers and a school social worker who were at the time licensed by the Minnesota Board of Teaching despite having criminal pasts involving sexual misconduct, violence, drugs and theft.

At least seven of those teachers were working in classrooms.

Failure to Report: KSTP Minnesota Teacher Database

The omnibus bill also includes policy changes that would keep more people with certain felonies or gross misdemeanors involving minors from obtaining a Minnesota teaching license.

"Minnesota should be so much better than that - for me as a former teacher and school administrator - I found it appalling," said Rep. Kelly Fenton, whose legislation was included in the bill.

"It's really important that when parents send their children to school that (the) individual they spend so much time with is thoroughly vetted."

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Eric Chaloux

Copyright 2018 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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