Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Conference committees continue to act

Yesterday at the Capitol

Higher Education Conference Committee Update

The higher education conference committee met yesterday and continued discussions on provisions in both bills. Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Vice Chancellor and CIO Ken Niemi spoke on how technology dollars have been spent. He highlighted infrastructure, necessary projects and the need for a secure system. Conferees recessed for floor session and reconvened in the afternoon to hear about the oral health practitioner and dental therapist provisions in the bill, as well as the human cloning provision. The conference committee plans to meet today after floor session, which is likely to be late afternoon/early evening. Co-chair Sen. Sandy Pappas, DFL-St. Paul, indicated they were supposed to receive budget targets last night. If that is the case, they will be able to work through the finance provisions in the bills.

Economic Development Conference Report goes to the floor

The economic development conference committee reached agreement on SF 2081 yesterday. The conference report includes $350.6 million in total spending, representing a cut of more than $15 million from forecasted base funding. The Senate had proposed $356 million and the House $368.4 million. "I think we have a really good compromise here," said committee co-chair Sen. David Tomassoni, DFL-Chisholm. Tomassoni said he did not like some of the budget cuts included in the bill, but said they were made in the interest of reaching a compromise with the governor’s office. The conference report now goes to the House and Senate floors for approval today.

At the Capitol:

Legislative schedules are available for the House and Senate.

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