Friday, May 13, 2011

Higher education committee finalizes bill; Mankato students walk 90 miles to capitol

Yesterday at the Capitol

Conferees wrapped up the higher education finance bill last night. The cut for the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system ended up at $130 million over the 2012-2013 biennium from the fiscal year 2011 base doubled. (If you look at the numbers from the FY2012-2013 forecasted base, it is a $180 million cut over the biennium). The total appropriation for the system each year is $540.5 million, down from the fiscal year 2011 budget of $605 million.

The House language that provided for a 1 percent performance set aside was included and will be made available based on achievement of 3 of 5 goals. Those goals include; (1) increase by at least seven percent, compared to fiscal year 2009, graduates or degrees, diplomas and certificates conferred; (2) increase by at least ten percent, compared to fiscal year 2010, the number of students of color; (3) increase by at least fifteen percent, compared to fiscal year 2010, the full year equivalent enrollment of students taking online or blended courses or the number of online and blended sections; (4) increase by at least one percent the fall 2011 persistence and completion rate for fall 2010 entering students compared to the fall 2010 rate for fall 2009 entering students; and (5) decrease by at least two percent, compared to calendar year 2009, total energy per square foot.

The House language was adopted that requires the Board of Trustees to place the highest priority on meeting the needs of employers for a skilled workforce when making reductions, approving programs of study and course offerings.

The bill also caps tuition 5 percent in the first year and 4 percent in the second year for the universities, and 3 percent each year of the biennium for the colleges. Regarding tuition and fees, language was included in the bill that reads; "The Board of Trustees of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities must limit the rate of increase for any mandatory fee charged to a student at a university or college to four percent per year in the biennium ending June 30, 2013, unless a higher increase is approved by a public majority vote by the recognized campus student association." Mandatory fees are those that are generally charged to all students at a college or university.

Also adopted was the House language regarding the undergraduate tuition guarantee plan that encourages the Board of Trustees to offer entering students a plan providing stable tuition for two-years or four-years.

The language on credit transfer was amended and adopted that reads; "When providing the report required by Laws 2010, chapter 364, section 38, the Board of Trustees of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities shall provide the information about progress made toward achieving the goals described in the system's Smart Transfer Plan, and shall provide information about the number of students transferring between and among the system's two- and four-year institutions during the previous fiscal year. In addition, the Board of Trustees shall include a system study of mechanisms for effective transfer in other states."

Conferees did put more money into the state grant program to partially fund the state grant projected deficit for 2012-2013. The program will see an additional $21.1 million over the biennium. This is a $6 million decrease from the House position and a $14 million increase from the Senate position.

And finally, the House repealers were adopted. Those include; the requirement for public institutions to sell American-made clothing and apparel in their bookstores to the extent possible; the requirement that public employers purchase or require employees to furnish uniform or protective accessories that are made in America; the matching state grant program that is part of the Minnesota College Savings plan; and the requirement to provide one-time Achieve grants to students who were eligible before Jan. 1, 2009 and have not yet been awarded the grant.

Provisions not adopted include the language regarding transformation initiatives; the caps on the chancellor and presidents salaries; the allocation of any system salary savings to be used to mitigate tuition increases or allocated under the Board's allocation model; and the provision that requires the system to do a comprehensive evaluation of the system's structure and report back to the Legislature.

State government finance conferees also wrapped up yesterday with a tentative agreement. The draft of the conference report is expected to be released today. The overall cut to state government operations is 34 percent. Co-author of the bill, Rep. Morrie Lanning, R-Moorhead, said conferees will not sign the report right away, but instead will discuss it with Gov. Dayton and his administration. Lanning said they may need to meet one more time next week, but expect the report to be taken up on the House floor mid-week. Since the Senate bill included more cuts than the House, the final report resembles the House bill. One of the provisions adopted includes the requirement for agencies, including the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, to use zero-based budgeting when asking the Legislature for state appropriation. Regarding the state employee health insurance premium increase in the Senate bill that was not included in the House bill, conferees agreed to modify the provision to only partially shift insurance costs. Once the report is available, we will provide the link for your review.

And also yesterday, nine Minnesota State University, Mankato students arrived at the State Capitol and were greeted by Gov. Mark Dayton and a number of legislators, including House Higher Education Policy and Finance Chair Bud Nornes, R-Fergus Falls. Their walk from Mankato to St. Paul marked the second year in which students walked to protest higher education appropriation cuts.

Today at the Capitol

8:00 AM
House Ways and Means
Room: 200 State Office Building
Chair: Rep. Mary Liz Holberg
HF104 (Smith) Department of corrections claim settlements provided, and money appropriated.
HF556 (Smith) Juvenile prostitutes in need of protection or services provisions amended, sexually exploited youth defined, prostitution crime penalty assessments increased, and distribution of the assessment amended; prostitution laws provisions clarified and recodified, and definitions modified; money appropriated to the commissioner of public safety to develop a statewide victim services model.
HF988 (Smith) Public defender representation provision modified.
HF1068 (Beard) Transportation and public safety policies governing provisions provided including data practices, bicycles and bikeways and bridges, transportation construction contracts, motor vehicles, traffic regulations, driver licensing and training, alternative financing for transportation projects, railroads, motor carriers and commercial drivers, and agency reporting, establishing fees and an account, pilot program expanded, seaplane base variance provided, provisions repealed, technical changes made, and money appropriated.
HF1478 (Kiffmeyer) Minnesota sex offender program provisions modified
HF 211 (Wardlow) Liability limits modified for tort claims against the state and political subdivisions, conciliation court claims regulated, right of appeal provided on class action orders, statute of limitations on claims modified, prejudgment interest modified, attorney fees regulated, and cause of action for sex trafficking violations provided.

9:30 AM
Senate in Session

10:30 AM
House in Session

12:00 PM
Legislative Commission on Pensions and Retirement
Room: TBA
Chair: Rep. Morrie Lanning
Final action on proposed legislation laid over for possible inclusion in the 2011 Omnibus Retirement Bill.
Meeting materials:
Delete all amendment H1647-5A
Summary of H1647-5A

4:00 PM
Conference Committee on S.F. 170
Room: 318 Capitol
Chairs: Sen. Theodore Daley and Rep. Andrea Kieffer
SENATE: Daley; Wiger; DeKruif
HOUSE: Kieffer; Erickson; Kath
Agenda: S.F. 170-Daley: Teacher candidates basic skills exam pass requirement.

At the call of the chair
Senate Finance
Room: 107 Capitol
Chair: Sen. Claire A. Robling
S.F. 1002-Ingebrigtsen: Trout and salmon stamp sales revenue management account appropriation to natural resources department (DNR).
S.F. 1357-Hoffman: Defense of Dwelling and Person Act of 2011; firearms regulation provisions modifications.
S.F. 907-Nelson: State building efficiency, fleet management improvements, and Medicaid and tax fraud prevention and detection consulting services contracts for improvements to state-operated systems and services requirements.
S.F. 849-Carlson, J.: State employee group insurance program (SEGIP) retired employee termination notice requirement and coverage reinstatement procedure.

Looking Ahead

Saturday, May 14

10:00 AM
Senate in Session

1:00 PM
House in Session

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