Friday, April 9, 2010

Transfer conference committee appointed; House hears policy bill

Yesterday at the Capitol

Earlier this week it was reported that the Senate passed the House version of the system credit transfer bill, HF 3164. We have subsequently learned that the Senate substituted the House language with the Senate language, passed the bill back to the House, where it was rejected, so a conference committee has been appointed. Conferees will work through the differences between the two bills. The House conferees are; Rep. Larry Haws, DFL-St. Cloud; Rep. Jeanne Poppe, DFL-Austin; and Rep. Carol McFarlane, R-White Bear Lake. At the time of this writing, the Senate conferees have not yet been appointed.

You may compare the two bills at the links below:

SF 2822

HF 3164

The House Higher Education and Workforce Development Finance and Policy Division held their last meeting yesterday and took up three bills. The first bill, HF 3739, sponsored by Rep. Lyndon Carlson, DFL-Crystal, increases the annual allocation of tax exempt bonding authority for student loan bonds and authorizes three state agencies; Minnesota Housing Finance, Office of Higher Education, and the Rural Finance Authority, as entitlement issuers of bonds through the bond allocation to transfer their individual allocated authority to each other prior to Dec. 1 of each year. The bill was recommended to pass and was referred to the Finance committee.

Committee members also heard HF 3757, sponsored by Rep. Bill Hilty, DFL-Finlayson, that doubles the fee assessed on mutual funds and appropriates $23 million of the revenue generated to the state grant program to help fill part of the $42 million state grant shortfall. The deficit will cause the Office of Higher Education to pro-rate state grant awards later this year. Members learned that students would see an average of $200 more in their state grant award by partially filling in the shortfall. When asked what the impact would be to mutual fund holders, it was determined that for every $10,000 in mutual funds, there would be an approximate $5 fee increase.

Rep. Sarah Anderson, R-Plymouth, proposed an amendment that would generate revenue through racino instead of assessing an increase in the fee on mutual funds. 20 percent of the revenue raised from racino would be dedicated to the Office of Higher Education for state grant expenditures. After much debate, the amendment did not pass on a roll call vote of 6-12. Rep. Hilty's original bill did pass however on a roll call vote of 11-7 and was referred to the Finance committee where it will be heard Wednesday of next week.

The third bill heard yesterday was HF 3448, which was amended to become the committee's second omnibus policy bill. The bill includes the provisions from the first policy bill plus provisions from other bills. Included in the bill is language that raises the age of senior citizen in statute from 62 to 66 to receive a tuition discount; caps the onetime grant for high school-to-college developmental transition program at $1 million; and establishes the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities central system office and provides for general duties of the office.

The supplemental budget bill signed by the governor raised the revenue fund authority in statute from $200 million to $300 million. HF 3448 brings that authority increase down to $275 million. The bill also corrects the system's base budget for fiscal years 2012-13 for operations and maintenance at the colleges and universities to be $580.802 million each year.

There is language in the bill that requires the system along with the Chamber of Commerce, and representatives of industry groups and labor unions to study program requirements for certificates and diplomas awarded by the system to determine the feasibility of designing technical education programs to allow students to have more opportunities to earn credentials with lower credit requirements that could be combined into higher level certificates or diplomas. There is also a provision that requires the system office to streamline services provided through the office to reduce expenditures, better target the use of state resources and provide services at the most appropriate and efficient level so as not to duplicate any services provided at the institution level.

There is language on credit transfer, postretirement health insurance premium reimbursements, the local deposit of reserves pilot project and a provision that states the system office cannot pass through any reductions made to the office to the institutions.

The bill, as amended, was passed and referred to the Finance committee where it will be heard Wednesday.

Today at the Capitol

8:30 AM
House Finance
Room: 200 State Office Building
Chair: Rep. Lyndon Carlson
HF2758 (Lillie) Labor agreements and compensation plans ratified.
HF677 (Bunn) Body art procedures and establishments regulated.
SF2339 (Peterson) Criminal penalty increased for possessing dangerous weapons on school property while criminal penalty lowered for brandishing, using, or possessing replica firearms and BB guns on school property.
HF1320 (Swails) Pharmacists prohibited from substituting epilepsy drugs without prior consent and notification.
HF3046 (Ruud) Birthing centers licensure established.
HF3123 (Morgan) K-12 special education third-party billing process made more cost effective.
HF3279 (Huntley) Electronic health record technology provisions amended, administrative penalties provided, and money appropriated.
HF3713 (Huntley) Medical assistance eligibility expanded to include certain adults without children, and money appropriated.
HF3224 (Beard) Transportation projects provisions modified.

8:30 AM
Senate Finance
Room: 123 Capitol
Chair: Sen. Richard J. Cohen
S.F. 3275-Anderson: Natural resources department long-range land management budget analysis requirement.
S.F. 2541-Kubly: Indian tribal government owned watercraft, off-highway vehicles and snowmobiles motor vehicle registration and licensing requirement exemptions.
S.F. 3003-Saltzman: Solid waste disposal facilities requirements and landfill siting rules modifications.
S.F. 2510-Tomassoni: Labor and industry licensing and fee modifications.
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. 2832-Saltzman: Construction codes residential written contact performance guidelines requirements; housing statutory warranties modifications and dispute resolution procedures provisions.
S.F. 2941-Saltzman: 4-H funding procedure modification; University of Minnesota extension service policy modification for 4-H programs support.
S.F. 1905-Scheid: Small employer health insurance market application form standardization development and adoption.
S.F. 2170-Scheid: Homestead-lender mediation requirement prior to mortgage foreclosure.
S.F. 1761-Scheid: Health plans chemotherapy treatment coverage payment regulations.
S.F. 3134-Betzold: State government appropriations, appropriation reductions and one-time transfers.
S.F. 2629-Sieben: County assistive voting, vote-counting and optical scan equipment grants appropriation.
S.F. 1590-Sieben: Inflatable amusement equipment safety standards establishment.
S.F. 2750-Bonoff: Constitutional amendment for public debt to be incurred for public information technology systems, licenses and infrastructure.
S.F. 3084-Carlson: Professional or technical services contract reporting threshold reduction; report requirements modifications.
S.F. 3325-Latz: Local impact notes request from finance and ways and means committees authorization.
S.F. 2471-Olseen: Declaration of trust and real property secretary of state filings modification.
S.F. 2682-Erickson Ropes: Fillmore county veterans cemetery funding.

Looking Ahead

Monday, April 12

9:00 AM
Joint Committee: LCPFP Subcommittee on a Balanced Budget
Room: 15 Capitol
Chairs: Rep. Lyndon Carlson, Sen. Lawrence J. Pogemiller
Agenda: Update on cash flow

11:00 AM
House in Session

12:00 PM
Senate in Session

Wednesday, April 14

8:30 AM
House Finance
Room: 200 State Office Building
Chair: Rep. Lyndon Carlson
SF2758 (Bunn) Minnesota entrepreneur virtual assistance network authorized, and money appropriated.
HF3739 (Carlson) Bond allocation limits modified, and transfer authorized.
HF3757 (Hilty) Security transaction security exemptions modified, and money appropriated for the state grant program.
HF3448 (Rukavina) Minnesota State Colleges and Universities; pilot project established for the local deposit of certain reserves.
HF3046 (Ruud) Birthing centers licensure established.

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