The Legislature adjourned the 2015 session at midnight last night after a hurried attempt to get all bills approved. The major spending bills that were approved by the Legislature, including higher education, will spend $42 billion in the 2016-2017 biennium. Other bills did not make it, including the omnibus tax bill and transportation bill. The House Republicans and the Senate Democrats couldn’t come to an agreement on the amount of tax credits proposed and funding for transportation projects, so lawmakers did not pass those bills. House Speaker Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, and Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, agreed to leave $1 billion of the almost $2 billion budget surplus on the bottom line to try and come to an agreement next year.
Governor Mark Dayton has said he plans to veto the $17 billion E-12 education funding bill, which includes $400 million in new spending, but does not include the Pre-K funding Dayton wanted. Everyone will be watching to see what Governor Dayton does, which could include calling a special session to put together an E-12 education agreement the Governor will sign. The Governor has the authority to call a special session, but he does not control the agenda of the special session, so any issue can be taken up if a special session is called. However, there would likely be an agreement on the perimeters of a special session before Dayton calls it.
Another bill left without passage was the omnibus legacy finance bill. The House was able to pass the bill with minutes remaining before adjournment; however, there was not enough time before midnight for the Senate to act. There was also not enough time to pass the $107 million bonding bill out of both bodies.
We will keep everyone updated regarding Governor Dayton’s action on the higher education bill. Also, watch for a comprehensive summary of all legislation that impacts MnSCU colleges and universities.
Thank you for your commitment and support of Minnesota State Colleges and Universities and the students we serve.
Director of Legislative Communications
Minnesota State Colleges and Universities
651-201-1757 (work) 612-483-3741 (cell)