Happenings Wednesday at the Minnesota Capitol:
Despite concerns about setting a precedent, a bill to provide $30 million to schools across the state for emergency fuel and energy assistance advanced in the Senate.
Two Senate education panels approved the bill over the objections of a few lawmakers who said if assistance was given to schools, other agencies and organizations would want help.
Others said the bill could penalize schools that paid to make their buildings more energy efficient because it was only designed to help those with high heating costs -- not to reimburse those who had spent money to keep costs lower.
The bill would require school district superintendents to submit to the state the amount they spent on energy last year and how much they estimate they will pay this year. The state would pay the difference.
An amendment was defeated that would have allowed schools to submit the amount they budgeted for this year's energy bills instead of the actual bill from last year, which were unusually low.
The proposal has at least one more committee stop before it goes to the floor.
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