Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Bonding committee comes closer to agreement; Higher education meets today

Yesterday at the Capitol
The bonding conference committee met yesterday afternoon, and the Senate had the gavel. The Senate made an offer and lowered their overall bill proposal to $279.5 million, down from $300 million. This compares with the House offer on April 23 of $275 million. While the Senate and House are close on the total bill, they still differ on a number of projects throughout the state.

For the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, both the House and Senate are now at $40 million for HEAPR, and both bodies have all five vetoed projects. The conference committee is scheduled to meet today at 2:30 (see schedule below).

The higher education conference committee did not meet yesterday as originally planned, however, they are scheduled to meet this morning at 9:00.

The House passed the economic development conference committee report yesterday by a vote of 74-57, and the Senate passed it Monday, 38-28. It now heads to the governor. Included in the bill is $1,000,000 from the 21st Century Minerals Fund for a grant to the Northeast Higher Education District for planning, design, and construction of classrooms and housing facilities for upper division students in the engineering program.

Also included is language that directs the Commissioner of the Department of Employment and Economic Development to lead a project to provide advice on state agency collaboration in the design, coordination, and administration of a strategic science and technology program for the state. A representative of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities is to be a project member.

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

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