Thursday, March 10, 2011

Transfer bill heard; Targets to be released

Yesterday at the Capitol

In the Senate Higher Education committee, members heard about credit transfer within the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system. Sen. Michael Jungbauer, R-East Bethel, presented SF 603, a bill that requires the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system to adopt a policy requiring colleges and universities to grant credit for a course that is taken for credit at any college or university in the system. In reference to credits transferring between institutions, Jungbauer said, "Calculus is calculus, biology is biology."

Mike Lopez, Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs for Minnesota State Colleges and Universities informed committee members about the Board of Trustees' commitment to credit transfer. Lopez said legislation passed last session to develop a policy to improve transfer within the system, and from that, the Smart Transfer Plan was developed.

As reported earlier, the plan includes; establishing course outlines available on all college and university Web sites; e-Transcripts, which is an electronic transcript process for transfers within the system; a policy that clarifies that DARS and databases are the official repository of course equivalencies between system colleges and universities; enhancements to the student appeals process, and information available to students; and continuous training for college and university staff who advise students in the area of transfer.

Don Larsson, President of the Inter Faculty Organization, or IFO, told committee members that the IFO supports a smooth transfer process, but the bill is unnecessary given the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system already has a process in place based on last session's legislation, with a purpose of transparency. Larsson said if the bill were to pass as written, it could undo much of what's already been done.

Also yesterday, Gov. Mark Dayton selected Sen. Ellen Anderson, DFL-St. Paul, to head the Public Utilities Commission. A special election is now necessary in Senate District 66. Dayton has scheduled the primary election for March 29 and the general election for April 12.

Today at the Capitol

Senate Republican leadership will release budget targets at a 10:30 news conference this morning. House Republican leaders have delayed the announcement of their targets. They are expected to announce their targets sometime this afternoon.

8:15 AM
House Education Reform
Room: Basement State Office Building
Chair: Rep. Sondra Erickson
HF360 (Peterson) School district requirement clarified that a school district is not required to provide educational services to students without disabilities from other states.
HF879 (Erickson) Annual evaluations for principals established, and a group of experts and stakeholders convened to recommend a performance-based system model for these evaluations.
HF638 (Myhra) School grading system created, school recognition program created, school report cards modified, rulemaking authorized, and report required.

10:15 AM
House Government Operations and Elections
Room: 5 State Office Building
Chair: Rep. Joyce Peppin
HF418 (Downey) Back Office Consolidation Act proposed; accounting, financial reporting, procurement, fleet services, human resources, and payroll functions centralized in the Department of Administration.
HF419 (Downey) Executive branch departments number reduced.
HFXXXX A bill for an act relating to elections; modifying certain election administration and districting procedures; amending MN Statutes 2010.

10:15 AM
House Taxes
Room: 200 State Office Building
Chair: Rep. Greg Davids
HF102 (Mahoney) Minnesota science and technology program established.
HF706 (Hancock) Aircraft exempted from the sales and use tax.
HF790 (Howes) Vital public safety personnel future aid payments reduced.
HF820 (Davids) Reciprocity agreement negotiation with Wisconsin directed and its termination permitted only by law.

11:00 AM
Senate in Session

12:30 PM
House Higher Education Policy and Finance
Room: Basement Hearing Room, State Office Building
Chair: Rep. Bud Nornes
Agenda: HF821 (Nornes) Senior citizen higher education program eligibility changed.
HF40 (Norton) Lifelong learning account established, tax credits allowed to employers and employees for contributions to lifelong learning accounts, and money appropriated.
University of Minnesota Presentation on Agriculture Initiatives

12:30 PM
House Jobs and Economic Development Finance
Room: 10 State Office Building
Chair: Rep. Bob Gunther
Agenda: Twin Cities Rise
HF729 (McFarlane) BioBusiness Alliance money appropriated.
HF670 (Swedzinski) Minnesota Inventors Congress money appropriated.
HF342 (Murdock) Manufactured homes inspections provided, and alternative design plans and reinstallation requirements modified.
HF675 (Gunther) Graduation and retention grant requirements modified, Twin Cities RISE! funding provided, and money appropriated.
HF405 (Clark) Youthbuild work experience requirements modified and money appropriated.
HF838 (Gunther) Opportunities industrialization centers money appropriated.

12:30 PM
House Education Finance
Room: 5 State Office Building
Chair: Rep. Pat Garofalo
Agenda: HF207 (Dittrich) Mineral management cost payment prohibited from permanent school trust fund land proceeds, and money appropriated.
HF785 (Garofalo) Permanent school fund interest payments clarified.
HF555 (Moran) Principals' Leadership Institute money appropriated.
HF339 (Kelly) Teacher employment contracts negotiation process identified.
HF464 (Norton) Teacher collective bargaining agreement deadline and process changed.

1:00 PM
Senate Agriculture and Rural Economies
Room: 107 Capitol
Chair: Sen. Doug Magnus
S.F. 260-Saxhaug: County agricultural society and county boards authority to exchange lands clarification.
S.F. 46-Saxhaug: Lake of the Woods county plasma-biomass plant grant appropriation.
S.F. 538-Magnus: Bioenergy grants appropriation.
S.F. 558-Rosen: Livestock mortality disposal oversight responsibility clarification; burial of certain material on farmland authorization.

Looking Ahead

Friday, March 11

9:00 AM
House Education Reform
Room: 5 State Office Building
Chair: Rep. Sondra Erickson
Agenda: HF945 (Petersen) Teacher licensure, evaluations, and tenure modified.

12:30 PM
House Education Finance
Room: 5 State Office Building
Chair: Rep. Pat Garofalo
HF133 (Fritz) Trial placements for eligible children allowed at the Minnesota State Academies.
HF273 (Woodard) Students at low-performing schools enrollment options established.
HF558 (Downey) Graduation-Required Assessment for Diploma mathematics exception removed.
HF669 (Loon) Early childhood education scholarship finance system created, early education worker training and retainment tax credits provided, early childhood education programming quality improved, and money appropriated.

Monday, March 14

11:00 AM
Senate in Session

1:00 PM
Senate Local Government and Elections
Room: 112 Capitol
Chair: Sen. Ray Vandeveer
S.F. 509-Limmer: Voter photo identification requirement; picture identification issuance provisions; provisional balloting procedure establishment; electronic polling place roster use requirement; recount procedure enacting; appropriating money.
S.F. 479-Howe: Voter photo identification and issuance requirement; picture identification and issuance at no charge; provisional balloting procedure establishment.

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