Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Chancellor, faculty, students testify for system; Schedules posted

Yesterday at the Capitol

The higher education conference committee met yesterday afternoon and heard testimony from those organizations affected by the House and Senate bills. Testifying on behalf of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system was Chancellor Jim McCormick who asked conferees to provide the system with as much flexibility as possible so that there are tools available to preserve services to students as budgets are being reduced.

McCormick said the Board of Trustees, presidents, students, faculty and staff have been grappling with the fiscal challenges the state has been facing for several years. He asked conferees to do what they can to minimize budget cuts to the system. He said the colleges and universities enrollment is at a record setting pace, and we want to continue being able to provide the education students seek. McCormick said, "The students and the institutions that comprise the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities are a national success story. We offer high quality, affordable education to the people of Minnesota, and we ask your help in protecting and preserving this public asset in the years ahead."

Also testifying yesterday was University of Minnesota President Bob Bruininks who said the University of Minnesota is one of the most productive universities in America, and cuts will erode the University's mission. Bruininks said the University expects to be part of the solution, but if the proposed cuts were enacted, it would take the University back to 1998. He said state funding is essential to the quality of the University of Minnesota.

Ted Tollefson, Metropolitan State University faculty, said he chose to teach at Metro State because he supports the mission of the system; to provide an accessible and affordable education. Tollefson said higher education is an expense, but it is also an investment.

Kevin Lindstrom, Vice President for the Minnesota State College Faculty, told conferees that MSCF is concerned about five things; how the cuts would impact access, quality, the communities they serve, morale among the faculty, and that the cuts will force bad decisions and will be the beginning of a downward spiral.

Don Larsson, President of the Inter Faculty Organization and Russ Stanton, Director of Government Relations for the IFO, both testified that the IFO would like to see improvements in appropriation to the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system. Stanton said the Board of Trustees tuition consultation process with the system should be allowed to work and the Legislature should not set tuition in law. Larsson said the IFO does not support salary caps for presidents or the chancellor. He said Minnesota needs quality people in these positions.

Andrew Spaeth, Chair of the Minnesota State University Student Association told conferees that the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system is a valuable asset for the state of Minnesota. Spaeth also informed members that the best form of financial aid is low tuition, and that cutting the system to fully fund the state grant program sacrifices quality to the system.

Members listened to all the testimony and adjourned the meeting. Co-chair Bud Nornes, R-Fergus Falls, has the gavel and will call the next conference committee meeting. As of now, there is no indication when that will be.

Today at the Capitol

8:15 AM
House State Government Finance
Room: 200 State Office Building
Chair: Rep. Morrie Lanning
Agenda: HF1506 (Banaian) Legislative Commission on Planning and Fiscal Policy new duties assigned, duties transferred from executive agencies, and money appropriated.
HF1579 (McFarlane) Counties given authority to provide for general welfare, alternative service delivery pilot program for waivers established, and state strategic planning and performance review provided.
HF545 (Downey) State budget document required to include federal insolvency contingency planning.

12:00 PM
Senate in Session

12:30 PM
House Civil Law
Room: 10 State Office Building
Chair: Rep. Torrey Westrom
Agenda: HF1220 (Wardlow) Legislative enactments; erroneous, ambiguous, and omitted text and obsolete reference corrections made; redundant, conflicting,
and superseded provisions removed; and miscellaneous corrections made to
laws, statutes, and rules.
SF137 (Wardlow) Deeds clarified to correct title and certain
acknowledgments, cancellation of residential purchase agreements
provided, and redemption period clarified for foreclosure of certain
SF194 (Mazorol) Uniform Commercial Code Article 9 amendments enacted by the adoption of the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State
Laws, and conforming changes made.
HF1443 (Scott) Residential tenant definition clarified.
HF1130 (Nornes) Student record and data use provided.
HF1254 (Bills) Residential property rights expanded and defined, and
association vote and lien provisions of the Minnesota Common Interest
Ownership Act modified.
HF1532 (Simon) Secretary of state duties imposed, and lists of registrants
with challenged voting statuses due to felony convictions required.

1:00 PM
Senate State Government Innovation and Veterans
Room: 123 Capitol
Chair: Sen. Mike Parry
SF849 (Carlson, J) State employee group insurance program (SEGIP) retired employee termination notice requirement and coverage reinstatement procedure
SF702 (Parry) Lawful gambling tax rates modification; linked bingo and electronic pull-tabs authorization
SF896 (Daley) County private audit meeting standards of state auditor performance authority
SF1046 (Senjem) Racino and Minnesota future fund

1:00 PM (or 15 minutes after session)
Conference Committee on S.F. 1030: K-12 Education bill
Room: 15 Capitol
Chairs: Sen. Gen Olson and Rep. Pat Garofalo
SENATE: Olson; Nelson; Thompson; Kruse; Wolf
HOUSE: Garofalo; Kelly; Doepke; Fabian; Erickson
S.F. 1030-Olson, G.: Omnibus early childhood through grade 12 education policy provisions modifications and appropriations - adopting same provisions

2:30 PM
House Capital Investment
Room: 10 State Office Building
Chair: Rep. Larry Howes
Agenda: HF959 (Howes) Flood hazard mitigation grant funding provided, bonds issued, and money appropriated.
HF1125 (Howes) Coon Rapids Dam renovation funding provided, bonds issued, and money appropriated.

4:30 PM
House in Session

6:00 PM
Senate Judiciary and Public Safety
Room: 15 Capitol
Chair: Sen. Warren Limmer
Agenda: S.F. 425 Gerlach Event ticket practices regulation.

6:00 PM (or to the call of the chair)
House Ways and Means
Room: 200 State Office Building
Chair: Rep. Mary Liz Holberg
HF1612 (Downey) Budgeted spending limited to the amount collected in prior biennium, and constitutional amendment proposed.
HF1598 (Drazkowski) Three-fifths vote required to enact a law imposing or increasing property tax rate or levy, and constitutional amendment proposed.
HF1597 (Kiffmeyer) Voters required to present photographic identification, photographic identification provided to voters at no charge, equal verification standards required for all voters, and constitutional amendment proposed.
HF1613 (Gottwalt) Marriage recognized as only a union between one man and one woman, and constitutional amendment proposed.
HF1381 (Erickson) Prekindergarten through grade 12 education policy provided, including general education, education excellence, special programs, facilities and technology, early childhood education, and student transportation.
HF1097 (McNamara) Land acquisition by exchange provided; peatland protection, recreational vehicle enforcement provisions, local recreation grant cash match requirement, and Mineral Coordinating Committee modified; Blakeley State Wayside repealed, and money appropriated.
HF1162 (Ward) Nonnative species provisions modified, permits to control or harvest aquatic plants requirements modified, and criminal and civil penalties provided.

*With the exception of HF1612, the other bills on the agenda have been heard in policy and/or finance committees. It is the general practice of the House Ways and Means Committee that public testimony will not be taken. Testimony will be taken on HF1612 only.

Looking Ahead

Thursday, May 5

8:15 AM
House State Government Finance
Room: 200 State Office Building
Chair: Rep. Morrie Lanning
HF1633 (Norton) Gross profit use clarified.
HF1485 (Kriesel) Lawful gambling tax rates modified, linked bingo and electronic pull-tabs provided for, and clarifying, conforming, and technical changes made. Testifying:
- King Wilson, Executive Director of Allied Charities of Minnesota
- Gene Lindahl, Morristown American Legion
- Laurie Gluesing, Climb Theatre
- Shawn Donahue, Spring Lake Park Lions
- Mary Perren, Cottage Grove Athletic Association
- HF418 (Downey) Back Office Consolidation Act proposed; and accounting, financial reporting, procurement, fleet services, human resources, and payroll functions centralized in the Department of Administration.
*Note: HF 418 was previously heard in committee and laid over for possible inclusion in omnibus state government finance bill. It will be motioned to Ways and Means Committee during this hearing.

8:15 AM
Conference Committee on H.F. 42: Omnibus tax bill
Room: 15 Capitol
Chairs: Sen. Julianne E. Ortman and Rep. Greg Davids
SENATE: Ortman; Rosen; Senjem; Chamberlain; Limmer
HOUSE: Davids; Lenczewski; Runbeck; Anderson; Loon
Agenda: Discussion of Local Option Sales Taxes

10:15 AM
House Government Operations and Elections
Room: 5 State Office Building
Chair: Rep. Joyce Peppin
HF1358 (Kahn) Neighborhood revitalization program termination and transition activities in a city of the first class provided.
HF1607 (Woodard) Capitol Complex Security advisory committee created, and State Patrol authorized to provide security and protection to certain government officials.
HF1523 (Holberg) Zoning for residential property used as vacation rental provided.
HFXXXX (Loeffler) A bill for an act relating to local government; terminating Hennepin County Soil And Water Conservation District and transferring certain duties;proposing coding for new law in Minnesota Statutes, chapter 383B.

11:00 AM
Senate in Session

12:30 PM
House in Session

3:00 PM
Senate Education
Room 112 Capitol
Chair: Sen. Gen Olson
Agenda: Tom Vander Ark, CEO for OpenEd Solutions
The presentation will focus on individualization, customization, and motivation as the main techniques to enhance learning for all students.

6:00 PM
Senate State Government Innovation and Veterans
Room: 123 Capitol
Chair: Sen. Mike Parry
S.F. 1099-Daley: Minnesota assistance council for veterans continued outreach to homeless veterans and families grant appropriation.
S.F. 896-Daley: Counties and first class cities private audits authority.
S.F. 725-Daley: Revenue department request for proposals for tax analytics and business intelligence contract.
S.F. 1359-Pederson: Legislative commission on planning and fiscal policy duties expansion.
S.F. 849-Carlson, J.: State employee group insurance program (SEGIP) retired employee termination notice requirement and coverage reinstatement procedure.
S.F. 1340-Carlson, J.: Minnesota Accountable Government Innovation and Collaboration (MAGIC) Act; counties general welfare provisions authorization.

7:30 PM
Legislative Commission on Pensions and Retirement
Room: 200 State Office Building
Chair: Rep. Morrie Lanning
Agenda: HF81 (Rukavina); SFxxxx: PERA; Purchase of service and salary credit
authorized for certain former employees of Babbit and Buhl for eligible
unreported employment.
HF476 (Kelly); SF176 (Howe): PERA; Red Wing Port Authority employees included and retroactive retirement coverage validated.
HF1338 (McFarlane); SF1113 (Chamberlain): White Bear Lake Volunteer Fire Department Relief Association; Use of special actuarial work authorized in determining the 2009 and 2010 special fund financial requirements and minimum municipal obligations.
HF1415 (Melin); SF1129 (Tomassoni): Police and fire plans; Relief associations extension provided for submitting reports.
HF1528 (Morrow); SF1277 (Sheran): MSRS; Increased annuity provided for surviving spouse and dependent children of employee killed while engaged in emergency response to flooding.
HFxxxx; SF1252 (Olson, G.): TRA; Independent school district #270, Hopkins; part time teacher participant salary credit purchase authorization.

Friday, May 6

9:30 AM
House in Session

10:30 AM
Senate Higher Education
Room: 107 Capitol
Chair: Sen. Michelle L. Fischbach
H.F. 821-Fischbach: Senior citizen higher education program qualifying age modification.
Confirmation hearing: Jacob Englund, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Board of Trustees

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