Thursday, May 6, 2010

Unallotment used improperly court says; House passes retirement bill

Yesterday at the Capitol

The big news yesterday was the Minnesota Supreme Court ruling of Gov. Tim Pawlenty's unalloment last year. The Court ruled 4-3 that the governor overstepped his executive authority by unilaterally cutting $2.7 billion from the state budget through the unallotment process. In a majority opinion written by Supreme Court Chief Justice Eric Magnuson, the court said that the budget process was defined, the deficit was known with the November and February Forecast, and the governor used the unallotment in an unintended way.

It is unclear right now if this ruling means the entire unallotment will be overturned, or just one relatively small provision pertaining to a nutritional program who were the plaintiffs in this case. As a reminder, the governor's cut of $2.7 billion included $50 million to the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system.

How this will play out is unknown, but is likely to mean the remaining $536 million shortfall will grow substantially to approximately $3 billion. Lawmakers will have their work cut out for them over the next 11 days as they work to resolve it. You can find the complete Supreme Court ruling here.

Also yesterday, the Senate passed the omnibus retirement bill on the floor by a vote of 44-19. The companion bill in the House was heard in Ways and Means Monday and has been sent to the floor.

On the House floor, members passed the contract ratification bill 118-5 after an amendment was adopted that requires a summary of the proposed contract agreement, award or plan to be posted on a state Web site prior to being submitted to the Legislative Coordinating Commission for review. The Senate has already passed the bill without this amendment, so the Senate will have to take up the revised bill.

Today at the Capitol

The higher education budget policy conference committee that was scheduled for this morning has been canceled.

*Please note that the House Journal from Tuesday, May 4 was incorrect. Rep. Kathy Brynaert, DFL-Mankato, is not one of the three members on the conference committee in the House. The third member is Rep. Roger Reinert, DFL-Duluth.

9:00 AM *Canceled*
Higher Education policy Conference Committee on S.F. 184
Room: 318 Capitol
Chairs: Sen. Sandra L. Pappas and Rep. Tom Rukavina
Agenda: S.F. 184-Pappas: Omnibus higher education policy bill.
CONFEREES: SENATE: Pappas; Robling; Latz - HOUSE: Rukavina; Brynaert; McFarlane

9:00 AM
Senate Taxes
Room: 15 Capitol
Chair: Sen. Thomas M. Bakk
S.F. 3063-Stumpf: Career and technical education levy formula adjustment.
S.F. 3028-Stumpf: Pre-kindergarten through grade 12 education appropriations and appropriation reductions.

9:00 AM
Conference Committee on S.F. 2737
Room: 107 Capitol
Chairs: Sen. Dan Skogen and Rep. Al Juhnke
Agenda: S.F. 2737-Skogen: Omnibus agriculture and veterans policy bill.

9:30 AM
House State Government Finance
Room: Basement State Office Building
Chair: Rep. Phyllis Kahn
SF3134 (Kahn) State government programs or activities money appropriated or reduced, and provisions changed relating to expenses of governor-elect, income earned by the permanent school fund, lease-purchase agreements, general services, resource recovery, payment of aids and credits to school districts, tax return preparers, and implied consent.

10:00 AM
Conference Committee on S.F. 863
Room: 112 Capitol
Chairs: Sen. Mary A. Olson and Rep. Joe Mullery
Agenda: S.F. 863-Olson, M.: Omnibus government data classifications provisions.

11:00 AM
Senate Economic Development and Housing Budget Division
Room: 107 Capitol
Chair: Sen. David J. Tomassoni
S.F. 3304-Cohen: Housing finance agency (HFA) affordable housing projects funding with mortgage registry tax and deed tax proceeds.
S.F. 3355-Tomassoni: Higher education securities transactions exemptions modifications; state grant program for secondary education appropriation.
S.F. 3273-Tomassoni: Challenge program bonds for affordable housing and permanent supportive housing authorization.

12:00 PM
House in Session

1:00 PM
Senate in Session

Looking Ahead

Friday, May 7

8:00 AM
House Finance
Room: 200 State Office Building
Chair: Rep. Lyndon Carlson
HF2227 (Marquart) Board of Innovation reestablished, powers and duties imposed, and money appropriated.
HF3795 (Eken) FEMA Public Assistance Program money appropriated.
SF1679 (Carlson) Retirement incentives authorized.

9:00 AM
House in Session

Tuesday, May 11

12:30 PM
Senate Higher Education Budget and Policy Division
Room: 123 Capitol
Chair: Sen. Sandra L. Pappas
University District Alliance report
HEFA confirmations

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