Friday, March 5, 2010

Bonding negotiations continue; Senate crafts Higher Education bill; Deadlines set

Bonding negotiations continue

The capital investment working group met yesterday afternoon and approved a revised bonding bill that brings the bill total down slightly from $999.9 million to $986.4 million, and now contains the core projects identified by the governor. Included in the cuts are projects from the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system and a combined $10 million from civic center projects in Mankato, Rochester and St. Cloud.

The impact for the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities projects was a decrease from $217 million to $179 million. Specific reductions to system projects are included in the attached side-by-side comparison. The HEAPR number remained at $52 million. While next steps are unknown, the bill could be sent to the House and Senate floors as early as next week.

Senate Higher Education Committee crafts bill

Also meeting yesterday was the Senate Higher Education Budget and Policy Division. Committee members passed the higher education budget article and referred the bill to the Finance Committee where it will likely be heard Monday.

Committee members addressed the issue of financial aid. Chair Sen. Sandy Pappas, DFL-St. Paul, said that on Tuesday when the bill was first released, one agreement was that the financial aid changes should not hurt the lowest-income families, those making under $20,000. A proposal was adopted yesterday that would minimize these cuts. Travis Johnson of the Minnesota State College Student Association said, "Preserving the state grant is key on our agenda" but he did not address the specific recommendations. Both he and Graeme Allen, of the Minnesota State University Student Association, said they would need to consult with their student members before weighing in on the proposal.

The House has not yet presented its higher education bill.

Deadlines set

House lawmakers now have a time frame for the session.The House Rules and Administrative Committee approved committee deadlines yesterday.

As recommended, the first deadline is March 12, when committees will need to act favorably on policy bills in the House. The second deadline is March 19, a date when committees must act favorably on the companion bills (those that met the deadline in the Senate). March 29 is the third deadline, where House and Senate Finance committees must act favorably on appropriations bills.

House Finance, Ways and Means, Taxes, Rules and the Legislative Administration Committees do not need to abide by the first and second deadlines. Neither does the Senate Capital Investment, Finance, Taxes, and Rules and Administration Committees.

Today at the Capitol

9:30 AM
Legislative Commission on Pensions and Retirement
Room 107 Capitol
Chair: Senator Don Betzold
View detailed agenda, also available from the commission staff:
S.F. 2499/H.F. 2953-Betzold/Murphy , M.: TRA; Financial sustainability measures.
S.F. 2573/H.F. 2952-Betzold/Murphy , M.: MSRS; Financial sustainability measures.
S.F. 2631/H.F. 2999-Betzold/Murphy , M.: PERA; Financial sustainability measures.
S.F. 2672-Betzold: PERA-P&F; MPPOA-recommended financial sustainability measures.
S.F. 2404-Pappas: SPTRFA; Increasing benefits and state aid, revising fiduciary provisions and large plan investment authority.
H.F. XXXX-Murphy, M.: DTRFA; Financial sustainability measures.
Final consideration of the 2010 Omnibus Retirement Bill

11:00 AM
Legislative Audit Commission Topic Select Subcommittee
Room: 318 State Capitol
Chair: Rep. Rick Hansen
Agenda: Working session to select 8-10 evaluation topics for further consideration by the subcommittee

Looking Ahead

Monday, March 8

11:00 AM
Senate in Session

12:30 PM
Senate State Government Budget Division
Room: 112 Capitol
Chair: Sen. Don Betzold
S.F. 2386-Metzen: Labor agreements and compensation plans ratification.
S.F. 2750-Bonoff: Constitutional amendment for public debt to be incurred for public information technology systems, licenses and infrastructure.
S.F. 2506-Bonoff: Capital project funding report on jobs created or retained.

1:00 PM
House in Session

Tuesday, March 9

8:30 AM
*Note: The committee will recess at 10:00 AM and reconvene at 6:00 PM in the Basement Hearing Room.
House K-12 Education Policy and Oversight
Room: Basement State Office Building
Chair: Rep. Carlos Mariani
Agenda: HF2986 (Hornstein) Responsible family life and sexuality education program created.
HFXXXX (Doepke) Board of teaching rulemaking authorized.
HF2995 (Tillberry) Diagnosis qualifications of attention deficit disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder expanded.
HF3267 (Newton) Advisory task force established on school desegregation and integration.
HFXXXX (Newton) Clarifying requirements for a conciliation conference; MDE directed to amend two special education rules.
HF2962 (Fritz) Minnesota Academy for the Deaf and Minnesota Academy for the Blind provided trial placement.
HFXXXX (Benson) School district mandates reduced.
Meeting Documents: HFXXXX (Doepke) Board of teaching rulemaking authorized.
HFXXXX (Newton) Clarifying requirements for a conciliation conference

12:30 PM
Senate Higher Education Budget and Policy Division
Room: 123 Capitol
Chair: Sen. Sandra L. Pappas
S.F. 2822-Clark: Minnesota state colleges and universities (MnSCU) credits transfer regulation.
S.F. XXXX-Pappas: Office of Higher Education Policy Bill.
Minnesota Home Grown Initiative

2:45 PM
House Capital Investment Finance Division
Room: Basement State Office Building
Chair: Rep. Alice Hausman
Agenda: HF2182 (Gardner) Rating criteria required for capital project funding requests.
HF2909 (Anderson) State agencies required to track and report on the number of jobs created or retained as a result of capital project funding.
(Downey) Information required to determine return on investment for capital requests.
Discussion on various bonding policies including provisions in HF2700 as passed on the House Floor.

2:45 PM
House K-12 Education Finance Division
Room: 10 State Office Building
Chair: Rep. Mindy Greiling
Agenda: HF3176 (Slocum) Charter school provisions modified, commission created, and charter schools permitted to borrow money.

3:00 PM
Senate Agriculture and Veterans
Room: 107 Capitol
Chair: Sen. Jim Vickerman
S.F. 2927-Doll: Veterans preference provisions modifications.
S.F. 2626-Erickson Ropes: Minnesota state academies bond issue and appropriation.
S.F. 1657-Olson, M.: Environment and natural resources organization advisory committee establishment and task forces; state agencies powers and duties consideration requirements.

Wednesday, March 10

12:30 PM
Senate Business, Industry and Jobs
Room: 123 Capitol
Chair: Sen. James P. Metzen
S.F. 2911-Berglin: Window fall prevention devices requirements modification.
S.F. 2758-Bonoff: Minnesota Entrepreneur Resource Virtual Network (MERVN) authorization and appropriation.
S.F. 2874-Pogemiller: State government streamlining; departments of employment and economic development (DEED) and labor and industry abolishment; commerce department downsizing; task force and employee participation committee establishment.

6:00 PM
Senate State and Local Government Operations and Oversight
Room: 123 Capitol
Chair: Sen. Ann H. Rest
S.F. 2950-Sparks: Jobs, family and economic development fund creation; agricultural, rural, early childhood, bioscience, medical technology, economic development, athletic, recreational, extracurricular activities and capital improvements funding mechanisms authorization.

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