Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Senate passes policy bill; Race to the Top discussed

Yesterday at the Capitol

On the Senate floor yesterday, lawmakers took up SF 184, the Senate omnibus higher education policy bill. The bill passed after it was amended. The first amendment related to the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system deletes the provision on credit transfer. Bill author Sen. Sandy Pappas, DFL-St. Paul, explained to Senators that the transfer language is currently in a separate bill that is being worked out in conference committee. The rest of the amendment was technical in nature. The other amendment related to the system, introduced by Sen. Chuck Wiger, DFL-Maplewood, is regarding the monitoring of the federal postsecondary textbook disclosure law. The language requires the Office of Higher Education to monitor the implementation of the Higher Education Opportunity Act as it relates to the disclosure of textbook pricing and other information to students.

SF 184 includes language relating to the Minnesota Office of Higher Education. There is a provision in the bill that asks colleges and universities to make a reasonable attempt to identify and purchase food products that are grown within the state. You may find the bill here.

The omnibus higher education policy bill in the House is awaiting action on the House floor.

Also meeting yesterday was a joint House and Senate education committee to discuss a second Race to the Top proposal. The federal grant is intended to stimulate education reforms and to help states fix low-performing schools. A grant could be worth between $60 million and $175 million to Minnesota.

During the hearing Minnesota Education Commissioner Alice Seagren and Education Minnesota President Tom Dooher were seated at the committee table instead of in the audience as lawmakers and state education leaders worked to come up with a successful application. Rep. Mindy Greiling, DFL-Roseville, said, “I would say this is the most important education meeting we have had this session, the main way to win is if we come together and do what’s best for our students.” Greiling, Sen. LeRoy Stumpf, DFL-Plummer, and other lawmakers, along with Dooher and Seagren, plan to meet Wednesday with a federal education department representative at a Minneapolis conference about the second Race to the Top proposal.

Session Daily reports that Gov. Tim Pawlenty has said he will not sign a second-round application unless the Legislature passes certain reforms he favors, which are also required by the grant criteria. These reforms include alternative teacher licensure; linking student achievement data to teacher effectiveness, tenure and pay; implementing statewide teacher and principal evaluation systems; and the ability to dismiss educators shown to be ineffective according to defined criteria.

Today at the Capitol

8:30 AM
Senate Finance
Room: 123 Capitol
Chair: Sen. Richard J. Cohen
S.F. 2998-Sheran: Programs for all-inclusive care for the elderly (PACE) authorization modifications.
S.F. 3073-Sheran: People with disabilities state programs and services effectiveness report request from the Arc of Minnesota.
S.F. 2589-Prettner Solon: High-voltage transmission lines route permits granting regulations.
S.F. 2429-Erickson Ropes: Veterans with service-connected disabilities public transit fee exemption clarification.
S.F. 1770-Jungbauer: Ladder out of poverty task force establishment.
S.F. 2900-Chaudhary: Miscellaneous game and fish, aquaculture and wildlife provisions
H.F. 2899/S.F. 2354-Betzold: Data practices violations administrative remedies and civil penalties.
S.F. 2186-Betzold: Civil commitment venue clarification.
S.F. 3029-Berglin: Advocating Change Together (ACT) self-advocacy network federal participation requirement.

9:00 AM
House in Session

9:00 AM
Senate Taxes
Room: 15 Capitol
Chair: Sen. Thomas M. Bakk
Agenda: S.F. 3327-Bakk: Omnibus tax bill (amendments and passage)

11:00 AM
Senate in Session

Looking Ahead

Wednesday, April 28

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.

No comments: