State paid preschool. Legislators passed $25 million for a preschool program, targeting low-income school districts. It's expected to allow about 3,700 more preschoolers to attend school. Gov. Mark Dayton had initially proposed $100 million for a more expansive program.
Racial disparities. Legislators approved $35 million this year with $17.5 million ongoing to address racial and economic disparities, particularly in north Minneapolis. This is the largest dedicated funding stream specifically set aside to tackle the issues in recent history.
Aid for cities and counties. Legislators approved a $10 million annual increase in County Program Aid and a $20 million annual increase in Local Government Aid for cities. Local governments rely on state aid to hold down local property taxes, aid that was cut during the Great Recession.
Stillbirth tax credit. Legislators set aside $800,000 in 2017 and $1.6 million in the next biennium. A separate provision provides a one-time tax credit of $2,000 to the parents of a stillborn child. The credit will help grieving families to offset medical and funeral services that are not covered by insurance, legislators say.
Body cameras. After more than two years of contentious debate, legislators approved new statewide regulations for body cameras and the footage they collect. The agreement nearly imploded when Dayton objected to a provision that allowed police to review the footage before they wrote their reports. Legislators removed the provision, and it passed on a bipartisan vote.
Foster care and fetal alcohol syndrome. Legislators unanimously passed a bill to require foster care providers to complete one hour of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder training within the first 12 months of their foster care license. Advocates said foster parents in Minnesota have been clamoring for support for more fetal alcohol training so they can better identify children with the condition and learn how to best meet their needs.