Thursday, April 15, 2010

House takes up policy, nanotech hot topic

Yesterday at the Capitol

The House Finance committee passed HF 3448, the higher education policy bill yesterday morning and sent it to the floor. The Senate companion bill, SF 184, sponsored by Sen. Sandy Pappas, DFL-St. Paul, awaits action by the full Senate. You may view HF 3448 here .

Prior to passage, the committee adopted three amendments to the bill. The first amendment adopted that relates to the system is regarding a surgical technologists pilot project. Under the provision, the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities is to establish a pilot project to develop partnerships and training and employment opportunities for surgical technologists with a health care facility located within 25 miles of each one of the six accredited surgical technologist programs in the system.

The other amendment related to the system is regarding a nanotechnology report. By Feb. 1, 2011, the University of Minnesota and the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities are required to report to the Legislature on ways nanotechnology is used responsibly through standards and guidelines that protect public health and the environment and provide for occupational health and safety.

The nanotechnology amendment was also discussed as an informational item yesterday in the House Housing Finance and Policy and Public Health Finance Division. Members of the committee were interested in learning more about the safety aspects in nanotechnology. Gail O'Kane, system director for education industry partnerships, told committee members about the programs within the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system that are focused on nanotechnology and informed members that the programs operate under OSHA standards.

Deb Newberry with Dakota County Technical College testified in front of the committee both as an instructor of nanotechnolgoy and from the national perspective of developing safety and environmental guidelines for nanotechnology.

Newberry spoke about the approaches to safety and ethics issues in Dakota County Technical College's program as well as other programs. Newberry also told the committee that it would be difficult to report on how the system's practices compare with national guidelines on nanotechnology as there are none yet. Newberry said the scientific and regulatory communities are working hard to develop guidelines, but the challenge is enormous since there at least a dozen interactive variables that would determine whether a particular use of a particular nanoparticle is toxic or environmentally harmful.

Politics in Minnesota captured Professor Newberry in mid-testimony here.

Today at the Capitol

8:30 AM
Senate E-12 Education Budget and Policy Division
Room: 112 Capitol
Chair: Sen. LeRoy A. Stumpf
Agenda: S.F. 2716-Saltzman: Charter school provisions modifications; charter schools facilities authority establishment; credit enhancement account creation; purchasing and borrowing authority authorization; building lease transition aid eligibility authorization.

8:30 AM
Senate Taxes
Room: 15 Capitol
Chair: Sen. Thomas M. Bakk Agenda:
S.F. 3336 (Langseth) Detroit Lakes sales and use taxes imposition authority.
S.F. 3343 (Fischbach) Job opportunity building zones (JOBZ) agreements amendment authorization.
S.F. 3338 (Tomassoni) Biwabik Giants Ridge recreation area sales and use taxes imposition authority.
S.F. 3337 (Jungbauer) Ramsey tax increment financing (TIF) district establishment.
S.F. 3347 (Lynch) Rochester lodging, food and beverage taxes modification.
S.F. 3339 (Erickson Ropes) Class 4c property classification requirements modifications.
S.F. 3117 (Erickson Ropes) Property tax homestead market value exemption program benefits for disabled veterans surviving spouses extension.
S.F. 3348 (Dibble) Manufactured home park cooperatives homestead treatment modification.
S.F. 3340 (Bakk) Homestead resort property classification application extension.
S.F. 3055 (Dibble) Tobacco Modernization and Compliance Act of 2010.
S.F. 3349 (Parry) Owatonna sales and excise tax use expansion and bond issuance authority.
S.F. 3352 (Bakk) Sales and use tax treatment of drugs and medical devices modifications.
S.F. 2919 (Dibble) Transit improvement tax increment financing (TIF) districts authorization.

11:00 AM
Senate in Session

12:30 PM
House in Session

Looking Ahead

Friday, April 16

8:30 AM
Senate Finance
Room: 123 Capitol
Chair: Sen. Richard J. Cohen
S.F. 2493-Moua: Crime of identity theft expansion to include scanning and reencoder use to acquire information from payment cards.
S.F. 2725-Moua: Gang and drug oversight council name change to violent crime oversight council; multijurisdictional gang and drug task forces certification process; criminal gang investigative data systems; intrastate data classification; cell phone tracking devices.
S.F. 2880-Moua: State Guardian Ad Litem board establishment.
S.F. 2634-Moua: Forfeiture of seized property procedure modification.
S.F. 560-Latz: Criminal records expungement law provisions expansion and modifications.
S.F. 2682-Erickson Ropes: Fillmore county veterans cemetery funding.
S.F. 3079-Sheran: Postsecondary enrollment options program modifications.
S.F. 2874-Pogemiller: State government streamlining; employment and economic development (DEED) and labor and industry departments abolishment; task force and employee
participation committee establishment; Taxpayers Accountability Act.
S.F. 2496-Rummel: Policy innovation and research task force.
S.F. 2620-Bonoff: Service innovation commission establishment.
S.F. 214-Betzold: Notaries public regulations and fees modifications.
S.F. 2383-Dille: Minnesota couples on the brink project establishment; premarital education statements notary public (notarized) license requirement removal; marriage license fee disposition modification.

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