Updates from the Government Relations team are sent periodically during the legislative session.                                                  
Legislative Update - March 10, 2016
Governor Dayton delivers State of State address  

Governor Mark Dayton delivered his State of the State address last night to a joint session of the Legislature. Due to renovations at the Minnesota State Capitol, Governor Dayton delivered his remarks at the University of Minnesota McNamara Alumni Center.   

Looking at this session, Dayton said his number one priority will be to protect the fiscal integrity of state government. He said this does not mean he will not propose anything with a fiscal impact, and said his supplemental budget released next week will propose some modest spending increases and middle-income tax cuts. Dayton cautioned however, that decisions made this session need to take future budgets into consideration.  

Dayton spoke of the education investment he made during the last five years, much of it to make up for what he called “past deficiencies.” "In fiscal 2012, real state support for higher education had fallen to its lowest level in thirty years,” Dayton said.  

Dayton discussed the importance of education. “If we don’t prevent achievement gaps before they appear, or close them quickly thereafter, they will require much more difficult and more expensive remedial efforts for years following,” he said. Last night’s address gave hints at what we can expect to see in Dayton’s supplemental budget he said he intends to release next week.  

Dayton also discussed his bonding proposal and specifically addressed higher education infrastructure. “Many buildings on the University of Minnesota and MnSCU campuses are badly in need of basic repairs. They cannot be expected to attract and retain first-rate students with second- or third-rate facilities. They also need to build new facilities, in which to provide the world-class educations their students will need to be successful in this global economy,” he said.

College preparation bill receives hearing

On Tuesday this week, the House Higher Education Policy and Finance Committee heard HF 2586, a bill authored by Rep. Peggy Bennett, R-Albert Lea, who described the bill as a means to provide student preparation guidelines for students and their families. Bennett said assessment information will put more power into the hands of parents, students and teachers.  

Under the measure, MnSCU is required to work with the Department of Education to identify guideline scores on the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment exam (MCA) in order to provide information to help students and their families prepare for a postsecondary education. The bill also states that MnSCU students who receive an MCA passing score do not need to take a remedial course.  

Pakou Yang, System Director of P-20 and College Readiness, with MnSCU testified on the bill. Yang said MnSCU would like to make this effort work for both K-12 and higher education, and said that MnSCU is supportive of the spirit of the bill that provides information to students and parents. Yang said career and college readiness is important to Minnesota. She testified that there are other measurements designed to measure career and college readiness, the ACT and the SAT. Yang explained the legislation passed in 2013 required all 11th graders to take the ACT. In 2014 the Legislature repealed that law. Yang said MnSCU would be supportive of using the MCA test scores as one of the measures for course placement, but not the only one.  

After much discussion about how the MCA test and the ACT test interact, as well as debate regarding what is the best way to prepare students, author Rep. Bennett said she will be working with all interested parties to make sure it’s a good bill moving forward. The committee adopted the bill and sent it to the House Education Innovation Policy Committee.  

Also at yesterday’s hearing, House Higher Education Policy and Finance Committee Chair Bud Nornes, R-Fergus Falls, welcomed a new member to the committee, Rep. Cheryl Youakim, DFL-Hopkins. You may find the full committee membership HERE.

This week at the Capitol

Thursday, March 10  

8:15 a.m.
House Education Innovation Policy Committee
Room: Basement Hearing Room
Chair: Rep. Sondra Erickson
Agenda: Presentations from the Minnesota Department of Education on World’s Best Workforce, the Innovation Pilot Project, and ESSA  

8:30 a.m.
Senate Education Committee
Room: 1100 Minnesota Senate Building
Chair: Senator Charles Wiger
Agenda: Office of the Legislative Auditor Report on the Board of Teaching and teacher licensure

S.F. XXXX-Dahle: Teacher licensure technical title changes.
S.F. 2290-Wiger: Unnecessary, obsolete and redundant school district reporting requirements repeal.

S.F. 2291-Dahms: School district reports requirements modifications  

11:00 a.m.
Senate in Session

12:45 p.m.
House Education Finance Committee
Room: 5 State Office Building
Chair: Rep. Jenifer Loon
Agenda: Office of Legislative Auditor Report - Minnesota Teacher Licensing System - presentation and discussion  

2:00 p.m.
Senate Higher Education and Workforce Development
Room: 1100 Minnesota Senate Building
Chair: Sen. Terri E. Bonoff
Agenda: Update and Review of Human Subjects Research Standards at the University of

S.F. 2412-Bonoff: Clinical drug trial participation prohibition for persons subject to emergency admission or apprehend and hold orders.

4:00 p.m.
House in Session  
Looking ahead
Tuesday, March 15
8:30 a.m.
Senate Education
Room: 2412 Minnesota Senate Building
Chair: Sen. Charles W. Wiger
S.F. XXXX-Wiklund: Testing Innovation Zone.
S.F. XXXX-Kent: Testing transparency.
S.F. XXXX-Kent: Disaggregated data.
S.F. 1782-Clausen: Career and technical educator licensing work group establishment.
S.F. XXXX-Clausen: MN homelessness work group recommendations.
S.F. XXXX-Bonoff: Charter school special education technical change.

5:30 p.m.
Legislative Commission on Pensions and Retirement
Room: 10 State Office Building
Chair: Rep. Tim O'Driscoll
HFxxxx; SFxxxx (Revisor #16-5966): MSRS, PERA, TRA, SPTRFA; Administrative and actuarial assumption provisions. (Note: this bill contains the language of the administrative/actuarial assumptions bills adopted by the Commission; the four bills have been combined and introduced as a single bill. There are a few technical changes made by the Revisor, so action on this bill will be an affirmation of previous action.)
Update on the Minnesota State Retirement System funding proposal.
Update on the Teachers Retirement Association funding proposal.
Update on the St. Paul Teachers Retirement Fund Association funding proposal.
HF2785 (Loon); SFxxxx: Increasing lump-sum service pension maximums for defined benefit relief associations; lowering the vesting requirement for Eden Prairie VFRA firefighters returning to active service.
HFxxxx; SFxxxx (Revisor #16-5720): Implementing the recommendations of 2015-2016 State Auditor's Volunteer Fire Relief Association Working Group.
HF659 (O'Driscoll); SF588 (Pappas): MSRS; Modifying disability application deadlines in certain instances.
HFxxxx; SFxxxx (LCPR16-015): MSRS; Rule of 90 eligibility for certain Department of Transportation (MnDOT) employees.
HFxxxx (Whelan, by request); SFxxxx (Revisor #15-3939): MSRS; Purchase of allowable service credit for state internship employment and Rule of 90 eligibility in certain cases.
HFxxxx; SFxxxx (LCPR16-030, coming soon): MSRS-Correctional; Transfer of prior MSRS-General service credit and retirement annuity adjustment for certain Department of Corrections retiree.

Wednesday, March 16

8:30 a.m.
Senate Education
Room: 2412 Minnesota Senate Building
Chair: Sen. Charles W. Wiger
S.F. XXXX-Clausen: Suicide prevention, continuing education requirements.
S.F. XXXX-Jensen: Erin's Law.
S.F. XXXX-Kent: Physical education, modifying requirements.
S.F. 1386-Hoffman, J.: School readiness teachers licensing requirement; early childhood family education (ECFE) teacher license requirements clarification.
S.F. 2308-Chamberlain: Dyslexia specialists requirement and appropriation.

Important Links:

  • Most recent bill introductions related to higher education (compiled by Government Relations team) SPREADSHEET
  • 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@so.mnscu.edu
Bernie Omann – Bernie.omann@so.mnscu.edu
Jim Grathwol – jim.grathwol@so.mnscu.edu