Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Economic Forecast out; Senate Higher Education bill unveiled

Yesterday at the Capitol

The February Economic Forecast was released yesterday, and according to State Economist Tom Stinson, "The big story is what didn’t happen: the forecast didn’t get worse." A $994 million deficit is being projected for the current biennium, a modest reduction from the $1.2 billion shortfall that was forecast in November. For the FY2012-13 biennium, Minnesota Management and Budget is projecting a $5.8 billion shortfall. Stinson said the state is facing a long and slow recovery.

Documents regarding the forecast can be found at the Minnesota Management and Budget Web site here.

In light of the almost $1 billion dollar deficit this biennium, the governor and lawmakers continue to address solutions to resolve the deficit. Budget discussions continue regarding higher education. Both the House and Senate higher education committees addressed the budget situation yesterday. In the House, the Higher Education and Workforce Development Finance and Policy Division heard from the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities regarding the system’s budget and the proposed $10.5 million additional cut the governor has recommended. Chancellor Jim McCormick told committee members that these cuts come at a time when services are in demand more than ever, and the colleges and universities are doing their best to meet demand despite declining state revenues. Chancellor McCormick asked committee members to do what they can to protect Minnesota’s higher education legacy.

In the Senate Higher Education Budget and Policy Division, members rolled out the higher education budget bill yesterday afternoon and took testimony regarding the budget cuts. The Senate bill includes the $10.5 million reduction to the system, which is the same as Gov. Pawlenty’s recommendation.

As legislative committees go through the budget reduction process, Gov. Pawlenty has called on legislative leaders to submit their budget-balancing plan by March 17.

Also yesterday, the capital investment working group met and continued to discuss the size of the bonding bill, however no action was taken. The working group is scheduled to meet today at 3:30 p.m.

Today at the Capitol

8:30 AM
House K-12 Education Policy and Oversight
Room: Basement State Office Building
Chair: Rep. Carlos Mariani
Agenda: HF2106 (Bly) Alternative learning centers and charter schools five-year pilot program established to identify systemic improvement measures to best serve eligible students, and money appropriated.
HF3157 (Mahoney) Parent notification of child maltreatment in a school facility modified, mental health assessment required of teachers disciplined for child maltreatment, teaching license revoked of repeat child maltreatment offenders, and district policy required for educating employees about mandatory child maltreatment reporting.
HF2986 (Hornstein) Responsible family life and sexuality education program created. (pending referral from Health and Human Services Policy Committee)
Meeting Documents: Author's amendment to HF3175

8:30 AM
Joint Senate Hearing: Committee on Taxes; Committee on Finance
Room: 15 Capitol
Chairs: Sen. Thomas M. Bakk, Sen. Richard J. Cohen
Agenda: 2009 February Economic Forecast overview.

8:30 AM
House State and Local Government Operations Reform, Technology and Elections
Room: 200 State Office Building
Chair: Rep. Gene Pelowski
Agenda: (Thissen) Minneapolis Employees Retirement Fund; administrative functions transferred to the Public Employees Retirement Association, consolidation account created within the Public Employees Retirement Association, and money appropriated.
HF2557 (Kahn) State Webmaster position established, and state chief information officer required to develop standards for enhanced public access to state electronic records.
Bills will be heard that were approved at the Local Government Division meeting on 3/1/2010.

10:30 AM *Meeting Canceled*
House Bioscience and Workforce Development Policy and Oversight Division
Room: 200 State Office Building
Chair: Rep. Tim Mahoney
Agenda: TBD

12:30 PM
Senate Business, Industry and Jobs
Room: 123 Capitol
Chair: Sen. James P. Metzen
S.F. 2719-Doll: Bioscience business development public infrastructure grant program expansion to include clean energy businesses.
S.F. 2873-Frederickson: Public facilities authority duties and programs modifications; department of employment and economic development (DEED) employees transfer to public facilities authority.
S.F. 2347-Latz: Employer overtime payment obligations modification.
S.F. 2758-Bonoff: Minnesota Entrepreneur Resource Virtual Network (MERVN) authorization and appropriation.
S.F. 2751-Saltzman: At-risk business report and fast-action economic response team creation.

1:30 PM
Trustee Candidate Advisory Council
Room: 500N State Office Building
Chairs: Kent Eklund
Agenda: Selection of candidates to be interviewed for Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Board of Trustees

2:45 PM
House K-12 Education Finance Division
Room: 10 State Office Building
Chair: Rep. Mindy Greiling
HF2751 (Morgan) Students who do not pass the reading and language arts GRAD allowed to retake the test in paper-and-pencil format.
HF2880 (Kath) Graduation-Required Assessment for Diploma requirement for retakes amended.
HF3123 (Morgan) K-12 special education third-party billing process made more cost effective.

3:30 PM
Capital Investment Working Group on H.F. 2700
Room: 5 State Office Building
Chairs: Sen. Keith Langseth and Rep. Alice Hausman
Agenda: H.F. 2700-Langseth: Omnibus capital investments bonding and appropriations.

6:30 PM
Joint Committee: Finance and Ways and Means Committees
Room: 200 State Office Building
Chairs: Rep. Lyndon Carlson, Rep. Loren Solberg
Agenda: Presentation of February forecast

Looking Ahead

Thursday, March 4

8:30 AM
House K-12 Education Policy and Oversight
Room: Basement State Office Building
Chair: Rep. Carlos Mariani
HF3163 (Mariani) Prekindergarten through grade 12 funding provided, including
general education, education excellence, special programs, and early childhood education.
HFXXXX - Governor's education bill.

10:30 AM
House in Session

11:00 AM
Senate in Session

12:30 PM
Senate Higher Education Budget and Policy Division
Room: 123 Capitol
Chair: Sen. Sandra L. Pappas
Agenda: To be announced

1:00 PM
House Higher Education and Workforce Development Finance and Policy Division
Room: 5 State Office Building
Chair: Rep. Tom Rukavina
Agenda: HF2570 (Anzelc) Douglas J. Johnson economic protection trust fund and the Ironworld Discovery Center renamed.
DEED bills
HFxxxx Obermueller relating to unemployment insurance; proving for an extension
HFxxxx Obermueller relating to workforce development; modifying unemployment insurance; clarifying workforce centers duties and responsibilities

2:45 PM
House K-12 Education Finance Division
Room: 10 State Office Building
Chair: Rep. Mindy Greiling
Agenda: HFXXXX (Garofalo) Governor's supplemental K-12 education funding provisions

3:00 PM
Senate Committee on Judiciary
Room: 15 Capitol
Chair: Sen. Mee Moua
S.F. 2709-Pariseau: Inmate room and board payment time credited for time served inclusion.
S.F. 2715-Moua: Domestic abuse provisions modifications; domestic abuse no contact order law recodification and clarification; crime of tampering with a witness expansion; criminal penalties modifications.
S.F. 2636-Wiger: Electronic monitoring for domestic abuse offenders pilot project authorization.
S.F. 2437-Moua: Domestic abuse ex parte court orders for protection expansion.
S.F. 2705-Latz: Business corporations, nonprofit corporations and limited liability companies organization and operation regulation; registered agents and officers of business entities consistent law requirement; prohibition against certain business names repeal.
S.F. 2885-Fobbe: Assessors testimony and reports usage in legal proceedings.
S.F. 2920-Fobbe: Veterans preference proceedings prevailing parties attorney fees and costs awarding authorization.
S.F. 2713-Lourey: Judicial holds in civil commitment cases provisions modification.
S.F. 2425-Erickson Ropes: Higher education private data disclosure provision modification.
S.F. 2188-Betzold: State webmaster position establishment and appointment; state chief information officer policy and report development requirements.
S.F. 2327-Betzold: Government Web sites temporary session cookies state agency use clarification.

3:00 PM
Senate Energy, Utilities, Technology and Communications
Room: 123 Capitol
Chair: Sen. Yvonne Prettner Solon
Agenda: S.F. 355-Koch: Nuclear power plant certificate of need issuance prohibition elimination.
*Due to limited seating in room 123, this hearing will be a ticketed event. Tickets may be procured from a Sergeant outside of room 123 between 2:00 and 3:00pm. Tickets will be distributed on a first come, first served basis.

6:30 PM
House Licensing Division
Room: 200 State Office Building
Chair: Rep. Cy Thao
Agenda: HF3212 (Simon) Continuing education requirements exception provided for
licensed professional counselors.
HF3070 ((Kath) Ethics training required from home health aides, and commissioner of health instructed to amend rules.
HF2897 (Norton) Psychologist licensure requirements modified.
HF3272 (Ruud) Genetic counselors licensed.
HF677 (Thao) Body art procedures and establishments regulated.
HF1855 (Thao) Athletic trainer provisions changed.
HFXXXX/ SF2823 (Ruud) Dental provisions modified related to teeth whitening.
HFXXXX (Abeler) Surgical technologist employment qualifications required.
Overview of the proposed elimination of the Office of Unlicensed
Complementary and Alternative Health Care Practice, Minnesota Department of Health

Friday, March 5

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

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