Thursday, April 7, 2011

State government bill passes House; Senate to hold news conference to update process

Yesterday at the Capitol

After debating the bill for nearly six hours, the House passed the state government finance omnibus bill yesterday by a partisan vote of 72-61. The bill cuts state agencies by 34 percent and includes many state government reforms. Rep. Keith Downey, R-Edina, sponsored many of the reform provisions included in the bill, and said the bill would lead to better state services by empowering employees to be more productive and manage state programs more efficiently. Some of the reforms included in the bill related to the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system include a salary freeze; however, the House bill exempts system faculty and administrators from the freeze. Another reform includes establishing a program to provide one-time bonus compensation to state employees for efforts made to reduce the costs of operating state government.

Opponents of the bill questioned the fairness to state employees as well as the use of fiscal notes, which Democrats said Republicans have been ignoring. Sponsor of the bill, Rep. Morrie Lanning, R-Moorhead, said his best judgment says that the bill is balanced and is a big step toward reforming government. The Senate passed their version of the bill earlier, so the next stop for the bill is conference committee where conferees will negotiate the differences between the House and Senate.

Today at the Capitol

Now that all the budget bills are off the floor and headed to conference committee, Republican Senators will hold a news conference at 10:00 a.m. today to comment on the passage of the bills.

11:00 AM
Senate in Session

11:15 AM
House Government Operations and Elections
Room: 5 State Office Building
Chair: Rep. Joyce Peppin
Agenda: HF1234 (Downey) Commissioner of administration required to issue a request for proposals and enter into a contract for strategic sourcing consulting services.
HF429 (Dettmer) Anoka County; countywide public safety improvement finance cost authority expanded.
HF1139 (Hancock) Public safety equipment single source acquisition and long-term leasing authorized.
HF962 (Howes) Tobacco license suspension alternatives authorized for sales to minors upon compliance with requirements.

3:00 PM
House in Session

5:00 PM
House State Government Finance
Room: 200 State Office Building
Chair: Rep. Morrie Lanning
Agenda: HF210 (Kiffmeyer) Voter picture identification required before receiving a ballot, identification cards provided at no charge, provisional ballot procedures established, election administration procedures specified, electronic polling place required, recount procedures enacted, and money appropriated.

5:00 PM
House Education Reform
Room: 10 Sate Office Building
Chair: Rep. Sondra Erickson
SF55 (Woodard) Charter school authorizer approval deadline modified
HF1321 (Woodard) Charter school provisions clarified.
HF672 (Dettmer) Charter school pilot project established to examine the policy implications of allowing the charter school to become an educational entity within a school district while retaining the autonomy and flexibility of a charter school.
HF1372 (Woodard) Charter school provisions clarified.

Looking Ahead

Friday, April 8

9:00 AM
House Education Reform
Room: 10 State Office Building
Chair: Rep. Sondra Erickson
HF905 (Hamilton) Youth athletes with concussions resulting from participation in youth athletic activities policies established.
HF1092 (Buesgens) Qualified individuals receiving a retirement annuity allowed to serve as a coach during a sports season.
HF575 (Erickson) Probationary teacher and principal status governing requirements clarified.

12:00 PM
Legislative Commission on Pensions and Retirement
Room 10 State Office Building
Agenda: Organizational Meeting
Election of 2011-2012 Commission Officers

2:30 PM
Joint Meeting: Environment and Natural Resources and Capital Investment
Room: Moorhead City Hall
Chairs: Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen, Sen. David H. Senjem
Agenda: 2011 Red River Valley Flood Update and Impact

Monday, April 11

3:00 PM
Senate Education
Room: 15 Capitol
Chair: Sen. Gen Olson
S.F. 605-Nienow: Graduation required assessment for diploma (GRAD) mathematics requirement exception removal; high school assessments for college and career readiness determination establishment.
S.F. 143-Wiger: High school assessments for college and career readiness determination establishment; assessment advisory committee recommendations for alternative means of graduation for students requirement.
S.F. 1073-Nelson: School districts transition planning for high school students to successfully pursue postsecondary education and employment.

Tuesday, April 12

8:30 AM
Senate Finance
Room: 123 Capitol
Chair: Sen. Claire A. Robling
S.F. 712-Carlson, J.: State lands valuation methods for acquired lands modification; adopt-a-WMA (wildlife management area) program establishment; state parks, forests, recreation areas and wildlife management areas additions and deletions; public and private sales of cer.
S.F. 930-Robling: Deficiency funding appropriations for public safety department, judicial standards board, tax court, and secretary of state; state-owned land minimum sale requirement modification.

Wednesday, April 13

3:00 PM
Senate Education
Room: 15 Capitol
Chair: Sen. Gen Olson
S.F. 452-Vandeveer: Charter school as educational entity within a school district pilot project for charter district #4116, Lakes International Language Academy and independent school district #831, Forest Lake.
S.F. 946-DeKruif: School districts joint operation and innovative delivery of education pilot project establishment.
S.F. 977-Wolf: Charter school revenue formulas modifications.

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