Updates from the Government Relations team are sent periodically during the legislative session.                                                  
Legislative Update - February 21, 2017
Minnesota State to present budget request to House Higher Education and Career Readiness committee on Wednesday from 3-4 p.m.

The hearing will be live streamed on the House multimedia site .
Week 8 shows full committee agendas

Long lists of bills are filling committee agendas, an indicator the first legislative deadline is just three weeks away. The February budget forecast is scheduled to be released next week, the final marker before legislative leaders determine targets for the state's biennial budget.

The House Higher Education and Career Readiness heard five bills in committee today which were all laid over for possible inclusion in the omnibus bill.

HF1369 introduced by Rep. Dean Urdahl (R-Grove City) would provide $500,000 over the biennium to College Possible to support support programs of college admission and college graduation for low-income students through an intensive curriculum of coaching and support at both the high school and post-secondary level.

HF1206 introduced by Rep. Tony Albright (R-Prior Lake) amends the Spinal Cord and Traumatic Brain Injury Advisory Council and would provide grant funding for spinal cord injury and traumatic brain injury research in addition to providing grants to support research scholarships and education program. 

HF1189 introduced by Rep. Brian Daniels (R-Faribault) would establish a loan forgiveness program for those veterinarian students who specialize in providing care to large animals.

HF1142 was introduced by Rep. Drew Christensen (R-Savage). The author introduced an amendment that would require Minnesota State to develop and implement a comprehensive tiered framework of supplemental instruction and developmental education based on student academic readiness. The tiered approach must emphasize supplemental instruction and the placement of students in credit-bearing courses and minimize the placement of students in developmental education. In addition to a report on these activities, the Office of Higher Education must report on its website the number and percentage of students from each high schools who placed into supplemental or developmental education; the number and percentage of students from each high school who complete said programs within one academic year and time to complete a degree or certificate. Reporting must be by school district and include student data by race, ethnicity, free or reduced lunch eligibility, and age. 

System Director of P-20 and College Readiness, Pakou Yang, and North Hennepin Community College developmental education faculty member, Shirley Johnson shared with the committee their concerns on a "one-size" fits all approach and that faculty and campuses have worked to develop approaches based on sound research that fit their students and their communities. 

HF1067, sponsored by Rep. Connie Bernardy (DFL-New Brighton), would create a training program by Minnesota State to provide high school teachers with the postgraduate credits necessary to teach concurrent enrollment courses to meet the teaching qualifications laid out by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Scholarships and grants would provide eligible teachers up to 18 credits in applicable post-secondary subject areas at a reduced price. Course offerings would be practicable for teachers carrying a full work load during the school year. Eligibility would be reserved for high school teachers who need additional graduate credits to qualify to teach courses for post-secondary credit. One-time appropriations in Fiscal Years 2018 and 2019 would fund the program. No fiscal note was provided; however, Bernardy projected a request of $3 million to $4 million annually.

Proposed Teacher Licensure system proposes new tier-system

A bill sponsored by Rep. Sondra Erickson (R-Princeton), HF140 would overhaul the existing system by consolidating the licensure authority, creating a new tiered licensure system and conforming existing statutes for clarity and consistency. The changes are the result of a March 2016 report by the Office of the Legislative Auditor.

“The recommendations found rather disturbing confirmations of what many of us already knew,” Erickson said. “This has been a journey. It has been a team effort putting this together.”

Approved Tuesday by the House Education Innovation Policy Committee, which Erickson chairs, the bill now heads to the House Government Operations and Elections Policy Committee. Its companion, SF4, sponsored by Sen. Eric Pratt (R-Prior Lake), awaits action by the Senate E-12 Policy Committee.

Proponents see the 51-page proposal as long overdue and a step in the right direction toward simplifying the licensure system as a whole for potential teachers.

“We’re really happy to see that a number of the recommendations that were made have made their way to the bill,” said Erin Doan, executive director of the Minnesota Board of Teaching.

However, concerns arose over specifics regarding the proposed governing board’s composition and how the transition of power would occur, as well as requirements regarding a proposed tiered licensure system.

More details can be found HERE.

This week at the Capitol

Wednesday, February 22, 2017  

8:30 a.m.
1100 Minnesota Senate Building
Senate Committee on Aging and Long-term Care Policy
SF668 (Housley) – Elderly waiver program reform and appropriation
SF654 (Lourey) – Nursing facility payment system policy and technical modifications and report requirement
SF655 (Relph) – Senior care workforce innovation grant program establishment and appropriation  

12:00 p.m.
Senate in Session  

3:00 p.m.
5 State Office Building
House Higher Education and Career Readiness Policy and Finance
Agenda: Budget Presentation from Minnesota State  

7:00 p.m.
Joint convention of the House and Senate for University of Minnesota Regent Selection  

Thursday, February 23, 2017  

1:00 p.m.
15 Capitol
Senate Committee on Higher Education Finance and Policy
Agenda: Biennial budget presentation from Minnesota State  

1:00 p.m.
200 State Office Building
House Health and Human Services Finance
HF351 (Hertaus) – supplemental payments from gross revenues that are subject to the provider tax exempted
HF743 (Albright) – Health professional training site grant program established and money appropriated
HF529 (Zerwas) – Interactive video for targeted case management allowed  

Next week at the Capitol  

Tuesday, February 28, 2017  

1:00 p.m.
15 Capitol
Senate Committee on Higher Education Finance and Policy
Agenda: University of Minnesota budget presentation  

Wednesday, March 1, 2017  

3:00 p.m.
5 State Office Building
House Higher Education and Career Readiness Policy and Finance
Agenda: University of Minnesota budget presentation

Important Links:

  • Most recent bill introductions related to higher education (compiled by Government Relations team) can be found HERE
  • Committee schedules can be found HERE
  • Many committee hearings and floor sessions are streamed live via the web or broadcast on television. More information and a schedule can be found HERE

Government Relations team:

Jaime Simonsen – Jaime.simonsen@minnstate,edu
Bernie Omann – Bernie.omann@minnstate,edu
Jim Grathwol – jim.grathwol@minnstate.edu