Legislative Update – March 12, 2015

Yesterday at the Capitol

The House Higher Education Policy and Finance Committee heard a number of bills yesterday aimed at improving student completion. HF1517, introduced by Rep. Kim Norton, DFL-Rochester, would require Minnesota State Colleges and Universities to develop a plan to encourage students to finish their degree program. Components of the plan could include; replacing developmental courses when appropriate with co-requisite courses; expanding intrusive advising; facilitating transfer of credits; and strategies to encourage students to enroll full-time. MnSCU would be required to report back to the Legislature on the plan, including financial and other resources needed for the college and universities to implement the plan. The bill was laid over for possible inclusion in the higher education omnibus bill.

Committee members also heard two bills sponsored by Rep. Dean Urdahl, R-Grove City. The first bill, HF1150, would regulate the process for determining whether a MnSCU student requires remedial education. The second bill, HF982, would direct eligible public postsecondary institutions to give full credit to students who complete PSEO courses. The bill was amended to remove the language that would encourage MnSCU to develop a common course numbering system. Both bills were laid over for possible inclusion in the higher education omnibus bill.

The final bill heard by the committee yesterday was HF647, introduced by Rep. Joe McDonald, R-Delano. This bill would require MnSCU to establish a program offering students an alternative to developmental courses. Under the alternative program, students could enroll in co-requisite courses, which are introductory credit-bearing courses that a student can take while receiving supplemental instruction. MnSCU would also be required to offer students enrolled in the program additional academic support in their credit-bearing courses at no cost. McDonald said he’d like to give MnSCU flexibility in the bill to provide these courses. There was also discussion about the cost to implement a co-requisite program. Rep. Jason Isaacson, DFL-Little Canada, said he’s concerned with requiring the colleges and universities to bear the cost of implementing a program like this.

Pakou Yang, System Director for P-20 and College Readiness at MnSCU testified that MnSCU encourages a variety of evidence-based approaches to be used. “Our institutions develop programs based on their local needs. Many of our MnSCU institutions are utilizing various models and programs to limit time-to-degree and lesson the financial impact for students needing developmental education. Some examples of these models include accelerated approaches, contextualized learning, modularized instruction, early assessments, and using multiple measures. We have a couple of institutions that are currently using the supplemental academic instruction model and their data thus far has illustrated promising results for students.” Yang said.

Shirley Johnson, a Reading and English Instructor at North Hennepin Community College, and Laurel Watt, a Reading Instructor at Inver Hills Community College also testified on the bill. Ms. Watt told committee members that they use the co-requisite model at her college and it has proven successful; however, there are many students for who a co-requisite model would not work. She said multiple models are necessary to help students succeed. Watt said she has concerns with sending all students who are not ready for a co-requisite model to Adult Basic Education (ABE) to get the developmental education they need. She said ABE does a good job helping these students, but experience has shown these students do not return to college. After discussion, this bill was also laid over for possible inclusion in the higher education omnibus bill.

Today at the Capitol

8:00 a.m.
Senate Education
Room: 107 Capitol

Chair: Sen. Charles W. Wiger
S.F. 1554-Kent: Student placement provisions modifications.
S.F. 97-Bonoff: Teacher seniority provisions modification.
H.F. 2-Pratt: Teacher licensure and employment conditions clarification.

8:15 a.m.
House Education Innovation Policy
Room: Basement hearing room
Chair: Rep. Sondra Erickson
HF702 (Norton) Foreign language proficiency levels required for proficiency certificates and gold and platinum bilingual and multilingual state seals clarified, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities directed to award academic credit for students’ demonstrated foreign language proficiency. and advisory task force on assessing students’ foreign language proficiency when American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages assessments are unavailable established.
HF1368 (Kresha) Tax credit provided for contributions to qualified foundations
HF964 (Wills) Legislative auditor’s 2013 report on special education portions implemented
HF1591 (Erickson) Early childhood and kindergarten through grade 12 education policy provided

10:15 a.m.
House Agriculture Finance
Room: 5 State Office Building
Chair: Rep. Rod Hamilton
HF907 (Anderson) Fertilizer research grants funding provided, and money appropriated.
HF1499 (Schultz) Best practices for food hubs and alternative community-based food distribution grant funding provided, report required, and money appropriated.
HF1216 (Poppe) Farm mental health counseling support funding provided, and money appropriated.

11:00 a.m.
Senate in Session

12:45 p.m.
House Greater Minnesota Economic and Workforce Development Policy
Room: Basement hearing room
Chair: Rep. Bob Gunther
HF627 (fFranson) Nursing facility employee scholarship costs modified, list of health professionals eligible for the health professional education loan forgiveness program modified, and money appropriated
HF753 (Kresha) Mental health professionals and independent clinical social workers added to the health professional education loan forgiveness program.
HF803 (Kresha) Mental health professionals and county social workers specializing in child protection added to the health professional education loan forgiveness program, and money appropriated

2:00 p.m.
Senate Higher Education and Workforce Development

Room: 107 Capitol
Chair: Sen. Terri E. Bonoff
S.F. 1620-Nelson: College completion plan development to encourage students to finish degree programs.
S.F. 765-Bonoff: Postsecondary study abroad program regulation clarification.
S.F. 1613-Miller: Minnesota state colleges and universities (MnSCU) course and credit policies modifications.
S.F. 1488-Miller: MnSCU campus autonomy act

3:30 p.m.
House in Session

Looking Ahead

Friday, March 13
9:00 a.m.
House Education Innovation Policy
Room: Basement hearing room
Chair: Rep. Sondra Erickson
HF1529 (Fenton): Education Savings Accounts for Students with Special Needs Act created, and money appropriated
HF1657 (Erickson): Authorizers empowered to terminate contracts based on student performance
HF1485 (Erickson): Charter schools allowed to give enrollment preference to children who are eligible for a free or reduced-price lunch

9:00 a.m.
Senate State and Local Government
Room: 112 Capitol
Chair: Sen. Patricia Torres Ray
S.F. 1121-Saxhaug: Responsible contractor requirements clarifications and modifications.
S.F. 618-Eken: Industrial Hemp Development Act.
S.F. 759-Jensen: Teacher shortage loan forgiveness program establishment and appropriation.
S.F. 957-Jensen: No-fault automobile insurance reform issues task force establishment.
S.F. 1416-Goodwin: Local government surplus equipment nonprofit organization donation authority.
S.F. 1504-Marty: E-health advisory committee, trauma advisory council, and the maternal and child health advisory task force sunset date extension (PENDING RE- REFERRAL FROM HHS).
S.F. 1515-Marty: Wetland Conservation Act modification.
S.F. 1596-Rest: Economic development incentive programs legislative auditor evaluation requirement and appropriation.
S.F. 1359-Wiklund: State agency rulemaking provisions modification; electronic notices and documents authorization.
S.F. 1360-Wiklund: Office of administrative hearings contested cases electronic filing authorization.
S.F. 1372-Pappas: Legislative coordinating commission (LCC) provisions modifications; professional or technical services contract requirements modifications; retirement plan coverage for part-time legislative employees clarification

Thank you.

Melissa Fahning
Director of Legislative Communications
Minnesota State Colleges and Universities
651-201-1757 (work) 612-483-3741 (cell)


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