Friday, May 8, 2009

Higher education conferees move provisions

Yesterday at the Capitol
The higher education conference committee met yesterday and made progress on many provisions in the bill. Conferees adopted the language that requires the Pell grant surplus to stay in the state grant program. Conferees also deleted the language that states the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities cannot fill administrative or managerial positions or use search firms for hiring.

The provision on American made clothing in bookstores was amended to delete the word "only." The language now reads, "To the extent possible, a bookstore located on the campus of a public college or university in Minnesota must offer for sale clothing or articles of apparel that are manufactured in the United States of America. The college or university must make a report to the legislature on the results of efforts to comply with this section."

The provision on labor market data review for the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities was amended to now read, "The board must assess labor market data when conducting college program reviews. Colleges must provide prospective students with the job placement rate for graduates of technical and occupational programs offered at the colleges."

Conferees deleted the tuition guarantee provision that requires the system to offer students a four-year stable tuition rate, and the language that was in the House bill for the sale of the Minnesota State College - Southeast Technical aviation training center was adopted.

Conferees still do not have targets so any provision or language dealing with money has not been acted on. Yesterday evening conferees did discuss some of the finance provisions and ended with a discussion on the oral health practitioner language. The conference committee is expected to meet today after the last body adjourns. The House goes into session this morning at 9:30 and the Senate goes in at noon.

Yesterday was the final deadline for conference committee reports to be finished. Yesterday on the floor the House and Senate voted to amend their Joint Rules regarding committee deadlines. Majority Leader Tony Sertich, DFL-Chisholm, said, "We could debate deadlines but it doesn’t bring us closer to reaching agreement." Sertich referenced Minnesota Management and Budget Commissioner Tom Hanson who stated in a recent Legislative Commission on Planning and Fiscal Policy hearing that he would rather see them all take a little more time, and not ram through bills just to meet a deadline.

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

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