Note: A complete summary of all 2008 session laws that affect the
The Legislature passed a $925 million bonding bill early April, which included $280.9 million in projects and asset preservation for the
business and technology addition and renovation, $13.3 million North Hennepin Community College
- #14 Classroom renovations, $3.6 million at Central Lakes College, Minnesota State Community & Technical College, Minnesota West Community and Technical College, Northland Community and Technical College, Pine Technical College and Rochester Community & Technical College;
health science center addition, $11 million; Lake Superior College
classroom center, $5.0 million; Metropolitan State University
shop space addition and renovation, $5.0 million; and Mesabi Range Community & Technical College
- #28 Property acquisition, $8.8 million at Bemidji State University, Dakota County Technical College, Fond du Lac Tribal & Community College, Minnesota State University Moorhead, Vermilion Community College, Minnesota State College - Southeast Technical and Metropolitan State University.
At the final hour, lawmakers were able to pass a second bonding bill that was tied in with the global agreement between the governor and legislative leaders. Bonding Bill Phase II totaled $105.5 million and included:
• $70 million for the Central Corridor light rail
• $20 million to acquire land for Lake Vermilion State Park
• $10 million for demolition and construction of 100-bed nursing facility on the campus of the Minneapolis Veterans Homes
• $3.4 million for capital asset preservation and replacement; and
• $2 million for removal and replacement of the old Cedar Avenue bridge in Bloomington to be used by bicyclists and foot traffic.
The February state economic forecast indicated that the state would be experiencing a $935 million state budget deficit for fiscal year 2009. Legislators worked hard to craft a solution to resolve this deficit. One large omnibus supplemental budget bill was created that included all areas of state government, including higher education. Everyone was part of the solution.
The omnibus supplemental budget bill conference committee report included a cut of $6.6 million to the
The bill includes rider language that says $5 million of the cut is to be taken from technology and the remaining amount is to come from the Office of the Chancellor budget, not affecting campuses. The bill also includes tuition language that says the system is to appropriate $9 million to buy-down tuition to 2 percent at colleges and 3 percent at universities.
There was funding in the original conference committee report for four programs; $900,000 for the Power of You, $120,000 for the Teachers of Diverse Backgrounds, $1 million to resolve a tuition revenue loss in reciprocity due to a law change in the 2007 session, and $500,000 to bring tuition down to one rate for four institutions.
In the final report, the Power of You program was cut $300,000 from $900,000 to $600,000 and will now be one-time funds instead of base money. The money will be for three institutions;
The language and funding for nonresident tuition and reciprocity tuition was replaced with new language. There is no longer any new funding in the bill, but rather the system is required to fund it out of appropriation received in 2007.
"From the appropriation in Laws 2007, chapter 144, article 1, section 4 Subd.1, the Board of Trustees shall allocate funding to campuses that lost revenue as a result of the decision in this law to eliminate nonresident undergraduate tuition at specified campuses."
The governor's ACHIEVE program that was originally slated for a $7 million cut was restored and will remain whole in the new bill, and the use for the state grant surplus remained the same. $9.445 million will go to the living and miscellaneous expense with a slight amount remaining in the state grant for a cushion.
The agreement to resolve the almost $1 billion budget deficit includes $500 million to be taken from the state’s $653 million budget reserve, $355 million in cuts, $30 million to come from accounting shifts, and the omnibus tax bill includes $109 million from closing a tax loophole. The state’s $350 million cash flow account will be preserved. The House approved the budget bill by a vote of 115-19 and the Senate passed the bill 56-11. The governor is expected to sign the bill. As we start to think about the next budget cycle, the governor and legislative leaders did say that the projected 2010-11 biennial budget deficit will be somewhere between $1 billion and $2 billion.
You may view the complete omnibus supplemental budget bill here.
Higher Education Policy Bill
In addition to the budget bill, lawmakers passed a higher education policy bill with no opposition. The Senate passed it by a vote of 64-0, and the House passed it 132-0. The bill was signed by the governor and includes:
• language that adds the spouse of a veteran as a
• authority to share data between the Minnesota Department of Education and the Office of Higher Education;
• language that makes permanent the use of any state grant surplus to be used for living and miscellaneous expenses;
• language that provides clarification to the Achieve scholarship program;
• authority for a nonprofit organization to use 5 percent of TEACH grant funds for administration purposes;
• language that adds two-year colleges as potential users of the revenue fund;
• a study prepared by the Office of Higher Education on the enrollment patterns of students from low-income families in higher education;
• a change in the make-up of the Board of Trustees to include one labor member;
• language that requires the board to report to the Legislature programs that were granted a waiver from the 60 or 120 program credit cap; and
• language that convenes an oral health practitioner work group to develop recommendations and proposed legislation for the education and regulation of oral health practitioners.
You may view the complete bill here.
Contract Ratification Bill
Legislators passed the contract ratification bill mid-April. The bill includes the ratification of the AFSCME, MAPE, MMA, IFO and MSCF contracts and the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities administrator's plan, the commissioner's plan and managerial plan. The contracts were effective the day following the governor’s signature, April 17, 2008.
Legislators also passed the omnibus retirement bill over the weekend. Included in the bill are modifications to the