Wednesday, April 1, 2009

House bonding bill advances; House considers early graduation; New Veteran's law proposed

Yesterday at the Capitol

House bonding bill makes its way through committee

The House Capital Investment committee passed HF 855 out of committee yesterday. Chair Alice Hausman, DFL-St. Paul, the author of the bill said she would have preferred to have a larger bonding bill than the $200 million in projects, but given the state's budget deficit, committee members focused on projects that would help get people to work right away. Included in the bill for the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities is $67.9 million; $30 million in HEAPR and the 5 vetoed projects from the 2008 legislative session.

The bill was later approved in the House Finance Committee and next makes its way to the Ways and Means committee at 2:45 this afternoon. As a reminder, the Senate has already passed their bonding bill, which includes $90 million for the system; $50 million in HEAPR and the 5 vetoed projects.

You may review the House bill here.

Early graduation scholarship bill heard in House
The House K-12 Education Finance Division heard HF 1177 yesterday, a bill that would create an early graduation achievement scholarship program. Students who graduate one semester early could earn $2,500, $5,000 if they graduate two semesters early, or $7,500 in three semesters. The scholarship would be good at any higher education institution.

Rep. Pat Garofalo, R-Farmington, the bill's author, said the bill could help make college more affordable for students and would save school districts money. The bill was laid over for possible inclusion in the division’s omnibus bill. The bill's companion, SF 1977, sponsored by Sen. David Hann, R-Eden Prairie, awaits a hearing in the Senate E-12 Education Budget and Policy Division.

House committee hears Veteran benefit bill
HF 938, a bill that allows state-employed veterans who suffer from a service-related disability to apply to Minnesota Management and Budget for up to 40 hours of additional sick leave per year to receive treatment for veteran health issues, was approved yesterday in the House State and Local Government Operations Reform, Technology and Elections committee. The bill was referred to the Finance Committee. The Senate companion, SF 334, has been laid over for possible inclusion in the Senate State Government Budget Division omnibus bill.

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

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