Legislative Update 5-16-13

Yesterday at the Capitol

The higher education conference committee met again last night and adopted an agreement, but did not pass the bill. Chair Sen. Terri Bonoff, DFL-Minnetonka, instead recessed the meeting telling conferees and the audience that the House and Senate wanted to meet with Gov. Dayton regarding the agreement before they adopt it, and left open the possibility for further amendments; so the below details are still tentative. The conference committee is still in recess, expected to return today at the call of the chair.

As for the agreement, conferees adopted the Senate position on the State Grant program which includes $77.9 million over the 2014-2015 biennium. This includes a decrease for independent students without dependents, the assigned family responsibility (AFR), from 68 percent to 50 percent of the student contribution. There is an increase in the assigned student responsibility (ASR) from 46 percent to 50 percent; and a provision that increases the tuition maximum for purposes of the state grant program for students in four-year programs from $10,488 to $13,000; however, it does not increase the cap for students in two-year programs. That maximum would remain at $5,808.

There is also an increase to the living and miscellaneous expense allowance (LME) from $7,000 to $7,940; and there is the pilot program included for part-time students at MnSCU institutions. For students registering for less than full-time, the AFR is prorated by the percent of full-time for which a student is enrolled.

For Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, the agreement would appropriate $102 million to the system over the 2014-2015 biennium. $78 million is to be used to offset tuition, and then freezes MnSCU’s tuition for two years. $17 million is included for the retaining quality faculty and staff initiative, and $7.3 million is included for the leveraged equipment initiative.

Conferees also adopted the performance measure language that withholds five percent of the fiscal year 2015 appropriation until MnSCU meets at least three of the five stated performance goals. Those goals are: increase by at least four percent in fiscal year 2013, compared to fiscal year 2010, graduates or degrees, diplomas, and certificates conferred; increase by at least one percent the fall 2013 persistence and completion rate for fall 2012 entering students compared to the fall 2010 rate for fall 2009 entering students; increase by at least four percent the fiscal year 2013 related employment rate for 2012 graduates compared to the 2011 rate for 2010 graduates; by 2014, MnSCU must collect data on the number of Open Educational Resources (OER) tools and services offered and formulate a plan to actualize a one percent reduction in expenses directly related to the cost of instruction incurred by students; and reallocate $22 million that became available through expense realignment in fiscal year 2014.

The conference committee adopted the DREAM Act proposal as well, which would change residency eligibility to allow all immigrant students graduating from a Minnesota high school to pay in-state tuition rates at Minnesota public colleges and universities. Also, students who qualify would be allowed to apply for financial aid from Minnesota.

Other policy provisions include: the House language on reporting a five-year history of the system’s expenditures and revenues to the Legislature when submitting a biennial budget proposal; and the Senate provision that requires MnSCU, in cooperation with Human Services, to convene a mental health summit and then develop a comprehensive development plan with the goal of increasing the number of mental health professionals and practitioners, ensuring appropriate course work and training experience, and increasing the number of culturally diverse mental health professionals and practitioners.

The House provision that repeals the Higher Education Advisory Council was also adopted. The Higher Education Advisory Council is made up of the president of the University of Minnesota, the chancellor of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, the president of the Private College Council, and a representative from the Minnesota Career College Association charged with discussion statewide higher education issues and bring them to the attention of the Minnesota Office of Higher Education. Chair Rep. Gene Pelowski, DFL-Winona, said at Monday’s conference committee meeting that the Council has not met in over a year and said he thinks the higher education leaders can communicate without the structure of the Council.

Both the House and Senate included language in their bills regarding bonuses in contracts at both MnSCU and the University of Minnesota. Conferees adopted the House language that states a contract must not authorize or otherwise provide for a discretionary or mandatory bonus or other performance-based incentive payment.

And conferees adopted the Senate provisions regarding veterans, which directs MnSCU and the University of Minnesota to adopt policies recognizing an applicant’s veterans’ status as a positive factor in determining whether to grant admission to a graduate program; as well as directs both systems to give consideration to credit for prior learning for veterans.

We will keep you posted regarding action on the bill after the conference committee meets today.

Today at the Capitol

9:00 a.m.

House in Session
CALENDAR FOR THE DAY
HF647 (Atkins) Insurance fraud division renamed; commissioner-issued subpoenas, coverages, and real estate appraiser licenses regulated; actuarial reserves opinions annual statement and property and casualty company supporting documentation required and regulated; continuing education and insurers’ risk-based capital requirements, no-fault benefits and coverages, arbitration and health claims appeals, provider liens, workers’ compensation self-insurance plan funding provisions, and Public Utility Commission matter service requests modified; exclusions prohibited; and unnecessary laws repealed.
HF392 (Melin) Public hearing and record governing provisions modified in juvenile court proceedings.
HF946 (Liebling) Underage possession or consumption of alcohol immunity provided for a person contacting 911 to seek assistance for another.
HF792 (Holberg) Negligent conduct liability waivers prohibited.

10:00 a.m. or at the call of the chair

Conference Committee on H.F. 630
Room: 125 Capitol

Chairs: Sen. Charles W. Wiger and Rep. Paul Marquart
CONFEREES: SENATE: Wiger; Torres Ray; Dahle; Johnson; Stumpf
HOUSE: Marquart; Urdahl; Brynaert; Morgan; Mariani
Agenda: H.F. 630-Wiger: Omnibus pre-kindergarten through grade 12 education finance bill.

10:00 a.m. or at the call of the chair

Conference Committee on H.F. 976
Room: 107 State Capitol
Chairs: Rep. Jean Wagenius, Sen. David Tomassoni
Agenda: HF976 Omnibus Environment and Agriculture Finance Bill
Conference Committee Meeting on Policy Provisions

11:00 a.m.
Senate in Session
Conference Committee Report on S.F. 671 – Omnibus public safety finance bill
Conference Committee Report on H.F. 729 – Omnibus jobs and economic development, commerce, consumer protection and housing appropriations bill

At the call of the chair
Conference Committee on S.F. 1236
Room: 318 Capitol
Chairs: Sen. Terri E. Bonoff and Rep. Gene Pelowski Jr.
Agenda: S.F. 1236-Bonoff: Omnibus higher education appropriations bill.

At the call of the chair
Conference Committee on H.F. 677
Room: 15 Capitol
Chairs: Sen. Rod Skoe and Rep. Ann Lenczewski
Agenda: HF 677 (Skoe): Omnibus tax bill

At the call of the chair
Conference Committee on SF 1589
Room: 118 Capitol
Chairs: Sen. Tom Saxhaug and Rep. Mary Murphy
Agenda: SF 1589 (Saxhaug): Omnibus state government, veterans and military affairs

At the call of the chair
Conference Committee on SF 489
Room: 118 Capitol
Chairs: Sen. Sandra Pappas and Rep. Mary Murphy
Agenda: SF 489 (Pappas): Omnibus retirement bill #1

Thank you.

Melissa Fahning
Government Relations
melissa.fahning@so.mnscu.edu

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