Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Senate approves transfer bill; House works on ag bill; Budget discussed

Yesterday at the Capitol

The full Senate approved the credit transfer conference committee report on the floor yesterday by a vote of 55-0, so the bill will now head to the governor. As a reminder, the House approved the report on the floor Monday. The bill will require the system to work on its credit transfer system, with the goal of "minimal loss of credits for transferring students." Here is the link to the conference committee report.

On the House floor yesterday, lawmakers took up SF 2737, the omnibus agriculture and veterans affairs policy bill, being carried by Rep. Al Juhnke, DFL-Willmar. Rep. Dan Severson, R-Sauk Rapids, offered an amendment to extend the higher education veteran assistance programs on campus. Current legislation has the programs expiring June 30, 2011, but the amendment extends the sunset date to June 30, 2015. Rep. Severson said that the bill author, Rep. Juhnke had concerns because of a potential cost. But Severson said that because of the effectiveness of the federal GI bill and monies not being accessed, there is money available. Juhnke said he would be happy to take it to conference committee and "try it on for size." The amendment was adopted and the bill passed the full House by a vote of 127-3.

Also meeting yesterday was the Legislative Commission on Planning and Fiscal Policy’s Subcommittee on a Balanced Budget. Minnesota Management and Budget Commissioner Tom Hanson told committee members that the $408 million the Legislature and Gov. Pawlenty are counting on to help resolve much of the remaining budget deficit is unlikely to be appropriated before the Legislature adjourns Monday, May 17.

Hanson said the governor's office learned yesterday from the National Governors Association that it could be several weeks before Congress passes an extension of enhanced Medicaid match funding. Hanson said while it's possible the legislation may be acted on prior to Congress recessing May 29, lawmakers might want to develop a backup plan. Hanson said the state budget is expected to be short $536 million this biennium. He suggested that lawmakers deal with the $128 million deficit first assuming the state will eventually receive the $408 million in federal funding, and then develop a back-up plan in case that money does not come through.

Today at the Capitol

8:30 AM
Senate Finance
Room: 123 Capitol
Chair: Sen. Richard J. Cohen
S.F. 2918-Betzold: Omnibus retirement bill.
S.F. 2573-Betzold: State, local, legislator and hospital public employees retirement financial sustainability provisions modifications.
S.F. 2644-Betzold: Minneapolis employees retirement fund (MERF) administrative functions transfer to the public employees retirement association (PERA); MERF consolidation account in PERA establishment and operation provisions.
S.F. 2937-Rosen: Chemical dependency treatment pilot projects.
S.F. 2170-Scheid: Homestead-lender mediation requirement prior to mortgage foreclosure.
S.F. 3043-Vandeveer: Minnesota Appraisal Management Company Licensing and Regulation Act; real estate appraiser advisory board modification.
S.F. 3246-Latz: Claims against state.
S.F. 2199-Olson, G.: Legislature size reduction and senate district division prevention.

8:30 AM
Senate E-12 Education Budget and Policy Division
Room: 112 Capitol
Chair: Sen. LeRoy A. Stumpf
S.F. 3028-Stumpf: Pre-kindergarten through grade 12 education appropriations and appropriation reductions.
S.F. 3063-Stumpf: Career and technical education levy formula adjustment.
S.F. 3064-Stumpf: Northwestern Online College in the high school program appropriations.

10:00 AM
House K-12 Education Finance
Room: 5 State Office Building
Chair: Rep. Mindy Greiling
Agenda: Mark-up and passage of HF2431, the omnibus K-12 finance and policy bill.

10:30 AM
Senate in Session (expected to be brief)

2:00 PM
House in Session

30 minutes after session
House Ways and Means
Room: 200 State Office Building
Chair: Rep. Solberg
HF2614 (Huntley) Intensive care management program established for medical assistance enrollees, funding reduced for the medical assistance program, request for proposals required, report required, and money appropriated.
HF3281 (Murphy) Omnibus pension bill.
HF3571 (Koenen) Publicly owned nursing facilities rate increase authorized, and local share required for nonfederal medical assistance costs.
HF3660 (Koenen) Department of corrections; settlement provided for certain claims against the state for injuries suffered.
HF3702 (Wagenius) Omnibus environment and natural resources finance bill.
SF2505 (Slawik) Statewide child care provider training, coaching, consultation, and supports funding provided to prepare for the voluntary Minnesota quality rating system, and money appropriated.
Budget resolution

Looking Ahead

There are no higher education related committee hearings or floor sessions Thursday or Friday this week due to the Republican state party convention beginning Thursday at the Minneapolis Convention Center.

Tuesday, May 4

8:30 AM
House K-12 Education Policy
Room: 10 State Office Building
Chair: Rep. Carlos Mariani
Agenda: Federal School Improvement Grants and Minnesota's list of "Persistently Lowest-Achieving Schools"

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