Updates from the Government Relations team are sent periodically during the legislative session.                                                  
Legislative Update - March 16, 2016

The House Greater Minnesota Economic and Workforce Development Policy Committee heard HF2798 yesterday, a bill authored by Rep. Marion O’Neill, R-Maple Lake, that makes some changes to the dual training bill passed last session. Rep. O’Neill said the bill provides more emphasis on new hires with high school equivalent education instead of incumbent workers. She said the changes also include some more flexibility on the part of the employers.  

In 2015, the Legislature created the Dual-Training Grant program to help employers and training providers deliver dual training to meet industry-developed occupational competency standards. The Office of Higher Education administers the grants, in collaboration with the Department of Labor and Industry.  

Nichole Sorenson with the Office of Higher Education provided some background on the dual training, or PIPELINE program (Private Investment, Public Education, Labor and Industry Experience). She said the office awarded the first round of grants in December 2015, and are working with the grantees to get their dual training programs off the ground. Sorenson said in the first round, $490,000 in grants was awarded, about half the appropriation for the first year. She said this funding will support 125 student employees. Sorenson said the next round of grants will be awarded over the summer so student employees can start training at a postsecondary institution in the fall. She said the changes in the bill will help the Office of Higher Education get the money to employers more efficiently and will benefit the program.  

Jaci Dukowitz, Director of Human Resources and Development at Ultra Machining Company (UMC), a manufacturing facility located in Monticello, testified at the hearing about the dual training, or PIPELINE program. Dukowitz said the PIPELINE project can help UMC by elevating the current competencies and skills of machinists on board, enhance longstanding youth and technical apprentice programs, and offer a career path for entry-level employees for machinists to obtain their two-year degree.   Dukowitz testified that UMC chose to focus on helping employees obtain their two-year degree, and partnered with St. Cloud Technical and Community College. She said that the employees they targeted for the program were nervous about the project and they ended up with only one employee who went through the program. Dukowitz testified that there were challenges with resources, but are hopeful their employees can still benefit from the program. She said UMC is hoping to enhance manufacturing’s economic impact across Minnesota.  

Jeff Thorstad and Brad Thorpe, instructors with Automation Robotics at Hennepin Technical College also testified on behalf of the bill. Thorstad testified that there will be 300 new job openings through 2023 in their field. He said they graduate between 30 and 40 students per year, and statewide, there are about 180 students graduating. Thorstad said one of the issues for employers is to be able to hire students once they graduate. He said students have multiple job offers, and companies have difficulties differentiating themselves from other companies. He said companies who hire students after high school and pay for their postsecondary education can set themselves apart.  Thorstad said his program is working with 3-5 companies on this process to further educate their student employees.  

Brad Thorpe testified that he started discussions on the ground level last year getting companies involved with the program. He said one of the issues they ran into was getting the employer, employee and school talking with each other. Another issue Thorpe mentioned was once companies were on board, they had to wait for approval, but that impacted the registration of students. Thorpe said going forward the timelines look better.  

After much discussion, the committee approved the bill and sent it to the Job Growth and Energy Affordability Policy and Finance.

Jeff Thorstad and Brad Thorpe, instructors with Automation Robotics at Hennepin Technical College
This week at the Capitol
Wednesday, March 16

8:30 a.m.
Senate Education

Room: 2412 Minnesota Senate Building
Chair: Sen. Charles W. Wiger
S.F. 2470-Clausen: Suicide prevention, continuing education requirements.
S.F. 2308-Chamberlain: Dyslexia specialists requirement and appropriation.
S.F. 2605-Eken: Dilworth/Moorhead school district boundary modification.
S.F. 2517-Torres Ray: Increase in age for late-arriving ELL students.
S.F. 1386-Hoffman, J.: School readiness teachers licensing requirement; early childhood family education (ECFE) teacher license requirements clarification. 10:00 a.m.
Senate E-12 Budget Division
Room: 2412 Minnesota Senate Building
Chair: Sen. Charles W. Wiger
S.F. 343-Kent: National association of sport and physical education kindergarten through grade 12 standards and benchmarks adoption requirement.

10:15 a.m.
House Agriculture Finance and Agriculture Policy (Joint Hearing)
Room: 5 State Office Building
Chair: Rep. Rod Hamilton
Alternate Chair: Rep. Paul Anderson
Agenda: Dairy Industry Presentation
U of M Dairy Industry Study
Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) Livestock Industry Study
MDA Dairy Research/Education and Consumer Outreach Authority Report
HF2408 (Hansen) Minnesota emerald ash borer suppression program established, and money appropriated - the hearing on HF2408 will be informational only. No votes will be taken.
(3/11/2016) legrpt-dairyauth16.pdf
(3/11/2016) MDA Livestock Study_2016.pdf
(3/11/2016) U of M Dairy Industry Study_121115.pdf

12:15 p.m.
House in Session  

12:45 p.m.
House Education Finance
Room: 5 State Office Building
Chair: Rep. Jenifer Loon
-Early Learning Update
-Early Learning Scholarship Report, MDE
-Parent Aware Update
-Northside Achievement Zone Update
-St. Paul Promise Neighborhood Update
-Education Partnerships (Red Wing, Northfield, St. Cloud) Update

2:45 p.m.
House Higher Education Policy and Finance
Room: 5 State Office Building
Chair: Rep. Bud Nornes
Agenda: Minnesota Private College Council Overview Bethel University BUILD Program Overview
H.F. 2896-Daniels: pilot program for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities at certain state universities  

Thursday, March 17  

8:15 a.m.
House Education Innovation Policy
Room: Basement hearing room
Chair: Rep. Sondra Erickson
Agenda: HF2898 (Lucero) Student privacy in data on electronic devices provided by an educational institution protected, and penalties provided.

HF2899 (Lucero) Student privacy with respect to electronic data in student information systems protected, and penalties provided.
HF2900 (Lucero) Student privacy in personal electronic devices on campus protected, and civil penalties provided. HF2762 (Erickson) Education commissioner directed to develop plan to ensure privacy and security of students' personally identifiable information.
HF2671 (Lucero) Student data access addressed, disclosure requirements affecting personally identifiable information about a student clarified, information in electronic student education records managed, student survey requirements established, and civil penalties provided.
HF2813 (Erickson) Statutes governing parental rights in education cross-reference directory created.
Bills may be taken in any order. Bills may be added.  

8:30 a.m.
Senate Education
Room: 2412 Minnesota Senate Building
Chair: Sen. Charles W. Wiger
S.F. 1364-Kent: Student Support Services Personnel Act.
S.F. XXXX-Dahle: Action on teacher licensure renaming, technical streamlining changes.
S.F. XXXX-Clausen: OLA work group.
S.F. XXXX-Nelson: Tiered licensure.
S.F. XXXX-Wiger: Deaf/blind advisory committees report.
S.F. XXXX: MDE policy bill.  

10:15 a.m.
House Government Operations and Elections Policy
Room: Basement Hearing Room
Chair: Rep. Tim Sanders
HF2249 (Petersburg) Capitol grounds plaque or marker placement authorized to honor workers who constructed the Capitol building, and money appropriated.
HF2603 (Green) Open meeting law modified, open meeting with public comment prior to land acquisition required.
HF887 (O'Driscoll) Unclaimed lottery prize money dedicated for acquisition of school trust lands, condemnation of school trust lands to be acquired provided, and money appropriated.

11:00 a.m.
Senate in Session

12:45 p.m.
House Education Finance
Room: 5 State Office Building
Chair: Rep. Jenifer Loon
HF2721 (Marquart)
Independent School Districts Nos. 152, Moorhead, and 2164, Dilworth-Glyndon Felton; voluntary realignment of the school district boundaries authorized.
Career and College Program Incentives Presentation

2:00 p.m.
Senate Higher Education and Workforce Development
Room: 1100 Minnesota Senate Building
Chair: Sen. Terri E. Bonoff
S.F. 2625-Stumpf: Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) two-year college program information and administrative costs provisions.
MN PIPELINE Project - Update
S.F. 2614-Bonoff: Higher education workforce development dual training grant program clarification.
S.F. 2544-Clausen: Student loan counseling program requirement provisions modifications.
University of Minnesota - Reports related to the Athletic Department
Office of the Legislative Auditor - Update on the Inver Hills Community College Certified Nursing Assistant Examinations

Important Links:

  • Most recent bill introductions related to higher education (compiled by Government Relations team) SPREADSHEET (updated 3/16/16)
  • 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