Snow day relief bill for Minnesota schools passes Senate vote, House vote to come

The Minnesota House of Representatives has yet to vote on a similar bill.
Publish date:

Schools worried about holding makeup days well into June can breathe a little easier as the Minnesota Senate voted 61-2 to approve a snow day relief bill that aims to allow districts to waive inclement weather makeup days. 

As MPR notes, a similar bill has yet to be voted on in the House, and because the House bill only allows relief for extreme cold days in early February, the two sides will have to agree on a relief bill before it's presented to Gov. Tim Walz. 

Minnesota's winter started slowly but went berserk in February, and is on track to continue the madness in March. In the Twin Cities, a record 39 inches of snow fell in February and another 8-12 inches is forecast by the National Weather Service this weekend. 

Even more snow fell in parts of southeast Minnesota last month, not to mention a visit from the polar vortex that dropped temperatures statewide well below zero with wind chills 40-60 below zero. 

The cold snap forced schools to recognize the dangers of simply going outside, prompting three straight days of cancelations across most of the state. 

Sign up to receive our BREAKING WEATHER newsletters in your email

Some districts have called off more than a week of school, with WCCO reporting at least one district has canceled school 10 times. 

Schools are required to reach a minimum number of days and teaching hours per school year, and the Senate bill is written to allow an exemption – for this year only – that counts snow/cold days as part of those requirements. 

Governor Tim Walz, a former teacher in Mankato, is on record saying he supports relief for schools this year. 

Next Up


Senators approve bill to establish board to oversee school trust land

The 16-member legislative-citizen panel would recommend policies to raise more money from the 2.5 million acres of school trust lands in northern Minnesota. Critics who want the DNR to continue to manage the lands are concerned the change would leave the land vulnerable to degradation. The House has passed a similar measure.

Senators pass $566 million bonding bill

The borrowing plan, approved by a 45-22 vote Monday night, would use $496 million for public works projects, higher education and state Capitol renovations. It also calls to spend an additional $50 million on unnamed Department of Employment and Economic Development projects. House lawmakers approved a similar measure early Monday afternoon. They can either accept the Senate version or the differences will be negotiated in a conference committee.

Dayton optimistic Vikings stadium bill will pass

The governor plans to spend his weekend persuading lawmakers to vote in favor of the stadium proposal next week. Gov. Mark Dayton told the Pioneer Press he predicts both chambers of the Legislature will approve the bill by a single vote. He said, "I've always thought it would pass by one vote."

Senate could vote on invasive-species boating proposal this weekend

The bill allows the DNR to setup inspection stations and issue tougher fines to help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive-species. Minnesota's 800,000 boaters would also be required to pass a training course. House lawmakers okayed the legislation Friday and Senators could vote on it this weekend.