Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Tuition bill heard; Schedules posted

Yesterday at the Capitol

The bill that freezes tuition for the 2012-2013 biennium at the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities and the University of Minnesota, was heard in the House Higher Education Policy and Finance committee yesterday. HF 856, introduced by Rep. Chris Swedzinski, R-Ghent, also holds tuition increases to the annual percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index, or CPI, for every year thereafter. Swedzinski said the bill provides long-term tuition guidance for students and their families.

Travis Johnson, President of the Minnesota State College Student Association, or MSCSA, said his organization does not support a tuition freeze, but rather a tuition cap, and said he would like to see a predictability measure in place going forward. Johnson said tuition increases should be limited to ensure a college education remains affordable.

Russ Stanton, Director of Government Relations with the Inter Faculty Organization, or IFO, testified against the bill and said his organization also advocates for low tuition. Stanton said the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system is a highly efficient system and tuition rates are among the lowest in the state. He said the IFO does not like the idea of setting tuition rates in the public arena, but rather should be left up to the Board of Trustees.

Dawn Reimer, Chief Finance and Facilities Officer at North Hennepin Community College also testified yesterday and explained to committee members that a tuition freeze will have a significant impact on the college's students and employees. Reimer said students come to the colleges and universities in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system because of the system's high quality instructors, innovative programs, and state-of-the-art facilities, labs and technology. With a tuition freeze and cuts to state appropriations, Reimer said growth in innovations and new programs at the college will be limited, physical improvements will be stalled, and quality education will be compromised.

Remier told committee members that the Board of Trustees currently makes final tuition decisions based on data provided by the colleges and universities, and the Board requires each institution to consult with its students concerning its tuition and fee proposals. Remier said at North Hennepin Community College, Budget Task Force meetings are held with employees and students to work on the budget; and ensures budget cuts, operating efficiencies and other revenues are incorporated into the budget before tuition rates are determined.

Today at the Capitol

8:15 AM
Joint Meeting: Senate Taxes; House Property and Local Tax Division
Room: 15 Capitol
Chairs: Sen. Julianne E. Ortman, Rep. Linda Runbeck
This is an informational hearing
S.F. 53/H.F. 49-Hoffman/Nornes: Fergus Falls, sales and use tax authorization.
S.F. 276/H.F. 377-Newman/Shimanski: Hutchinson, sales and use tax authorized.
S.F. 312/H.F. 579-Dahms/Koenen: Marshall, sales and use tax authorized.
S.F. 363/H.F. 608-Koch/Anderson, B.: Clearwater, local sales tax provision modified.
S.F. 423/H.F. 582-Miller/Davids: Lanesboro, local sales tax authorized.
S.F. 632/H.F. XXXX-Senjem/Quam: Rochester, authorizing city to extend an existing local sales tax.
S.F. 644/H.F. XXXX-Lourey/Hilty: Cloquet, local sales tax authorized.
S.F. 559/H.F. XXXX-Saxhaug/Hilty: Grand Rapids, local sales tax authorized, adjusting LGA payment.

8:15 AM
House State Government Finance
Room: 200 State Office Building
Chair: Rep. Morrie Lanning
Agenda: HF192 (Downey) Reinventing Government Employment Act proposed, public employee compensation freeze provided and future compensation method determined, state employee gainsharing system established, and state contract restrictions with private vendors removed.

Meeting Documents: H0192A12 Amendment to HF 192
H0192A13 Amendment to HF 192
H0192A9 Amendment to HF 192
H0192A10 Amendment to HF 192
H0192A11 Amendment to HF 192
H0192A6 Amendment to HF 192
H0192A7 Amendment to HF 192
H0192A8 Amendment to HF 192

12:00 PM
Senate in Session

1:00 PM
Senate State Government Innovation and Veterans
Room: 123 Capitol
Chair: Sen. Mike Parry
S.F. 81-Daley: State workforce reduction requirement; early retirement program establishment and Minnesota management and budget (MMB) actuarial analysis.
S.F. 604-Parry: Secretary of state legal fees payment; 2010 gubernatorial election county recount reimbursement costs appropriations.

3:00 PM
Senate Higher Education
Room: 107 Capitol
Chair: Sen. Michelle L. Fischbach
S.F. 565-Benson: Graduate education in for-profit sector office of higher education study requirement.
S.F. 603-Jungbauer: Minnesota state colleges and universities (MnSCU) credit transfer requirements.

4:30 PM
House in Session

8:00 PM
House Education Reform
Room: Basement State Office Building
Chair: Rep. Sondra Erickson
HF273 (Woodard) Students at low-performing schools enrollment options established.

Looking Ahead

Thursday, March 10

The House and Senate budget targets are expected to be released.

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.

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.
HF841 (Buesgens) State general tax reduced, corporate franchise tax reduced and repealed, business income subtraction provided, and capital equipment exemption at the time of purchase allowed and application expanded.

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.

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.

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
Agenda: 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

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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