Updates from the Government Relations team are sent periodically during the legislative session.                                                  
Legislative Update - March 24, 2017
House Higher Education hear amendments on omnibus bill

The House Higher Education and Career Readiness Policy and Finance committee presented the House higher education omnibus bill Thursday evening.

Seven amendments were submitted by the 10:00 a.m. deadline that was announced by Chair Nornes the previous day. Rep. Whelan withdrew her amendment regarding fetal tissue research at the University of Minnesota based on continuing conversations with the University.

Amendments included some technical changes and the following items:

  • A portion of HF1577 was added to the bill which would require information on the legal rights of student parents and pregnant students and a list of resources to be provided to students who are parents of one ore more children age 12 or younger and to pregnant students at postsecondary institutions.The information must be made available in languages that reflect the primary languages of the student body.
  • Similar to action taken by the Senate, the amendment clarified Board of Psychology Statute to provide licensure exemptions for those teaching and conducting research in a secondary, postsecondary, or graduate institution.
  • The tuition rate for 2018-2019 at Minnesota State universities must not exceed the 2017-2018 rate.
  • An amendment deleted the provision for Minnesota State and the University of Minnesota that would have required any unspent money appropriated to both systems to be transferred back to the state's general fund.

Testimony was heard from Commissioner Larry Pogemiller, Julie Townsend (University of Minnesota), Laura King (Minnesota State), Stacy Stout (Minnesota Chamber of Commerce), Paul Cervanik (Private College Council), and others from the community.

Laura King, chief financial officer for Minnesota State, noted the bill contains only about half of the $178 million in new funding the system requested and the tuition changes are a concern. “If this bill becomes law, our campuses will have significant financial pressure,” she said.

Julie Tonneson, the university’s associate vice president for budget and finance, expressed concern that the proposed funding is not enough to help the university maintain its core mission, which includes competitive compensation, research and technology infrastructure and facilities operation and maintenance. More than $68 million was sought for this.

Among her concerns, she said the university has cost increases that cannot be solely covered through reallocation and she believes it is critical to provide a modest salary increase for staff.

Both Minnesota State and the University of Minnesota expressed concerns regarding the inclusion of language that would prohibit both systems to impose on students mandatory fees that would fund noninstructional student programs, activities, groups, or services. Both shared the impact that it would have on critical student services.

The bill will now make its way to House Ways and Means next week before heading to the House Floor for discussion and a vote by all House members.

Senate Higher Education bill in Finance committee this morning

SF2214 (1st Engrossment) - the Senate Higher Education Omnibus bill will be heard this morning in Senate Finance. This is the last step before going the bill can be heard on the Senate Floor.

The committee will meet at 8:30 a.m. and will be streamed live.
This week at the Capitol

Friday, March 24

8:30 a.m.
Senate Committee on Finance
1200 Minnesota Senate Building
Agenda:
SF1316 (Lang) - Omnibus Veterans and Military Affairs Finance and Policy Bill.
SF605 (Kiffmeyer) - Omnibus State Government Finance and Policy and Elections Bill.
SF2214 (Fischbach) - Omnibus Higher Education Finance and Policy Bill.

9:00 a.m.
House Agriculture Finance
10 State Office Building
Agenda:
HF895 (Hamilton) - Agriculture funding provided, policy changes made, and money appropriated.

10:00 a.m.
House Education Finance
5 State Office Building
Agenda:
HF890 (Loon) - Early childhood, K-12, and adult education funding provided, and money appropriated.

Next week at the Capitol

Monday, March 27

9:00 a.m.
Senate Committee on Health and Human Services
1200 Minnesota Senate Building
Agenda:
A delete all amendment and spreadsheet will be posted as soon as it is available.

Spreadsheet and presentation of the HHS omnibus bill will start at 9 am, then the committee will recess at 10:55 for session. Committee will reconvene at noon and take public testimony

11:00 a.m.
House in Session

11:00 a.m.
Senate in Session

1:00 p.m.
House State Government Finance
Basement Hearing Room, State Office Building
Agenda:
State Government Finance Omnibus Budget Bill

The bill will be posted on Sunday, March 26. Monday's hearing will be a walk-through of the bill and public testimony

3:00 p.m.
Senate Committee on E-12 Finance
1100 Minnesota Senate Building
Agenda: SF718 (Nelson) - Early childhood, K-12, and adult education funding provided, and money appropriated. Walk through of the DE amendment for SF718. This will be the education omnibus bill.

5:00 p.m.
House State Government Finance
10 State Office Building
Agenda: If needed to continue accepting public testimony on the State Government Finance Omnibus Budget Bill

5:30 p.m.
Senate Committee on Finance
1200 Minnesota Senate Building
Agenda:
It is the chair's intent to amend SF2078 and SF1824 into SF1937
SF821 (Newman) - State road construction appropriation and modification
SF2078 (Dahms) - Omnibus Commerce and Consumer Protection Finance and Policy Bill.
SF1824 (Osmek) - Omnibus Energy and Utilities Finance and Policy Bill.
SF1937 (Miller) - Omnibus Jobs and Economic Growth Finance and Policy.

Tuesday, March 28

9:00 a.m.
House State Government Finance
Basement Hearing Room, State Office Building
Agenda: Continue accepting public testimony on State Government Finance Omnibus Budget Bill and do committee mark up.

1:00 p.m.
House State Government Finance
10 State Office Building
Agenda: If needed, continue mark-up of State Government Finance Omnibus Budget bill

3:00 p.m.
Senate Committee on E-12 Finance
1100 Minnesota Senate Building
Agenda: SF718 (Nelson) - The DE amendment for SF718, the education omnibus bill
The committee will take action on SF718

5:00 p.m.
House State Government Finance
10 State Office Building
Agenda: If needed, continue mark-up of State Government Finance Omnibus Budget bill

5:30 p.m.
Legislative Commission on Pensions and Retirement
15 Capitol
Agenda: TBA

Wednesday, March 29

3:00 p.m.
House Capital Investment
200 State Office Building
Agenda:
HF269 (Scott) - Closed landfill cleanup funding provided, bonds issued, and money appropriated
HF423 (Theis) - Hearing-impaired and hard-of-hearing accommodations required in capital improvement projects.
Overview by the Department of Natural Resources on state trail rehabilitation. 

Important Links:

  • Most recent bill introductions related to higher education (compiled by Government Relations team) can be found HERE (updated 3/23/17)
  • 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