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2023 Session Recap

The 93rd Minnesota Legislature convened on January 3, 2023, and the 2023 legislative session adjourned on May 22, 2023. The Council has compiled the below infographics breaking down the 2023 Minnesota legislative session into easy-to-understand pieces. Read on to learn how Minnesota fared in the arenas of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, Higher Education, Equity, Achievement Gaps, and Access to Healthcare.

Mental Health and Substance Abuse

Mental Health & Substance AbuseMental Health and Substance Abuse emerged as the top priority from the Council’s 2022 Priorities Survey, and new resources and programs were established during the 2023 session to address the increased need that has emerged during recent years. Changes adopted during the session include targeted funds for youth, ethnic minorities, and culturally informed mental health practices. These targeted funds in mental health will help better serve our communities in supporting mental health and treating and preventing substance abuse.

The session also approved funding for additional mental health support for adults and the wider population will also see more support. In addition to the establishment of a new Suicide and Mental Health Crisis Lifeline, adults that who have difficulty finding stable housing due to their mental health will be able to find help through a new program targeting this population.

Click to view the Mental Health and Substance Abuse legislative outcomes infographic.

Higher Education

Higher EdHigher Education can form the foundation for the future of individuals and families. During the 2023 session, the legislature approved the “North Star Promise” program, which will make higher education tuition free for students from qualifying families at state universities and colleges and will be available to all Minnesota resident families. This program will support students from families earning less than $80,000 per year who are working toward a bachelor’s degree at a public college or university. The program will provide aid after consideration of other grants and scholarships, with an average award expected to be around $3,100 per student beginning in the 2024-2025 school year.

Additionally, the legislature has continued investments to support the recruitment and retention of aspiring teachers of color. Specifically, $2 million was dedicated within the Teacher Shortage Loan Repayment Program specifically for aspiring teachers of color, with an additional $3.85 million appropriated to recruit new teachers in shortage areas.

Click to view the Higher Education legislative outcomes infographic.


EquityStatewide, community-based nonprofits often provide frontline assistance to help meet the needs of our communities. During this year’s legislative session, the important role of nonprofits was recognized, with over $2 million being dedicated directly to API-led nonprofits to support workforce development and entrepreneurship, and another $2 million being provided to Propel Nonprofits to make capacity-building grants to smaller organizations.

The state is also continuing efforts to support our workforce with competitive grant opportunities, providing $1 million per year for Southeast Asian competitive workforce development grants. Additionally, the state has permanently established an Office of New Americans within the Department of Employment and Economic Development, which will connect immigrants of all backgrounds with employers throughout the state.

Finally, this legislative session saw significant investments made to preserve and celebrate the cultural legacy of communities. This includes over $2 million directly appropriated to API-led organizations to preserve and promote the diverse cultural heritage of our communities. This new appropriation was made in addition to broader, competitive funding for cultural and civic purposes totaling more than $18 million. These investments will increase the recognition of our communities across the state and preserve the cultural, linguistic, and historical richness that Asian Pacific Minnesotans have contributed to our state.

Click to view the Equity legislative outcomes infographic.

Achievement Gaps

Achievement GapsSince 2017, the Council has joined with the other state ethnic councils and the Indian Affairs Council in support of the Increase Teachers of Color Act. This year, the legislature built off past success and provided significant increased funding to recruit and retain teachers of color. This includes a total of $72.4 million in investments to support teachers of color and students in E12 education and $5.85 million to support aspiring teachers of color as they pursue their higher education. Additionally, for the first time the state has codified in state law an official goal to increase the number of teachers of color, as well as taking action to reduce restrictive teacher licensing requirements and adopt policies to promote a safe and supportive environment for teachers and students.

The legislature also substantially increased funding support for English language learners during the 2023 session. This includes gradual annual increases in English learner funding in order to more than double the current amount per student by fiscal year 2027. Additionally, new professional development opportunities for teachers of English learners and new programs for English learners will be established, providing dramatically more support and opportunities for English learners.

Additional new policies adopted in schools include the availability of ethnic studies courses in all high schools by 2026, the prohibition of hateful and malicious conduct, and a statewide program to provide all students access to free breakfast and lunch at participating schools.

Click to view the Achievement Gaps legislative outcomes infographic.

Access to Healthcare

Access to HealthcareAccess to healthcare, including concerns over affordability, simplifying complex paperwork, and providing linguistic accessibility have been long-standing priorities for our communities. However, the COVID-19 pandemic also revealed the need for families to be able to safely take time off to care for themselves and others. To this end, the state legislature adopted plans for both Paid Safe and Sick Time and Paid Family Medical Leave to be available to all workers in Minnesota.
Paid Family and Medical Leave will be established through a new, state-run insurance program to provide Minnesota workers with up to 20 weeks of paid time off annually for medical and family care, funded through a new 0.7% tax on employee wages. This leave can be used for bonding with a new baby or child, family care, medical care related to pregnancy, serious health conditions, qualifying exigency, or safety leave. The state Paid Family and Medical Leave program will be available to all employed Minnesotans beginning on January 1, 2026.
Sick and safe time is paid leave employers must provide to employees in Minnesota that can be used for reasons including illness, to care for a sick family member, or to seek assistance if an employee or their family member has experienced domestic abuse. An employee is eligible to earn time if they work at least 80 hours in a year for an employer in Minnesota and are not an independent contractor. Employees can earn up to 48 hours each year at the rate of one hour earned for every 30 hours worked.
The new Earned Sick and Safe time program will become available on January 1, 2024, and will replace the current sick and safe leave law. Full details on the new program are available on the Department of Labor and Industry’s website.
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