Friday, March 27, 2009

More bills move in Senate

Yesterday at the Capitol

Bills moving through the Senate

The Senate Finance committee took up SF 1106, the bill that establishes licensure and practice limitations for oral health practitioners in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system and dental therapists at the University of Minnesota. The bill passed and was sent to the Rules and Administration Committee.

The Higher Education Budget Division heard a variety of bills yesterday, including SF 1540, authored by Sen. Claire Robling, DFL-Jordan, which requires the Office of Higher Education, in consultation with textbook publishers, the Student Advisory council, the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, the University of Minnesota and the Private College Council, to report on the implementation of textbook information requirements. The bill requires the report to include a template that publishers may use to provide the required information in a consistent format to all Minnesota campuses and to make recommendations of methods to disseminate pricing information to support students and faculty in making well informed decisions about course materials.

The bill also provides for an award of up to $150, to be used in conjunction with the base Achieve scholarship award, to students completing at least one online course in high school. However, Sen. Robling offered an amendment to delete the portion of the bill providing for the $150 award. The bill was laid over for inclusion in the division's omnibus bill.

Another bill, SF 1315, authored by Sen. David Tomassoni, DFL-Chisholm, provides a refundable tax credit for payment of principal and interest on student loans. Tomassoni said the bill provides relief for new graduates paying off their student loans. However, Chair Sandy Pappas, DFL-St. Paul, said, given the current budget crisis, the committee should not forward an open ended tax bill to the Tax Committee. The bill was laid over for further work.

At the Capitol:
Legislative schedules are available for the House and Senate.

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