Legislative Update – January 20, 2017

Week three comes to a close at the Minnesota Legislature

Higher Education

On Thursday, the House Education Finance committee received an overview the post-secondary programs available to high school students, including: concurrent enrollment, post-secondary enrollment options (PSEO), Advanced Placement (AP), and International Baccalaureate (IB). Joe Nathan of the Center for School Change provided a historical overview on PSEO and concurrent enrollment and expressed concerns regarding the Higher Learning Commissions (HLC) credentialing requirement.

Vice Chancellor Ron Anderson and President Connie Gores (Southwest Minnesota State University) shared with the committee the steps that Minnesota State colleges and universities are taking to meet the HLC requirements. Minnesota State received in December 2016, a five-year extension to allow ample time for colleges and universities to work with their concurrent enrollment teachers to meet the credentialing requirements.

The Senate Higher Education committee heard an overview from the Minnesota Private College Council. In addition, committee members had the opportunity to hear from student and faculty groups from Minnesota State and the University of Minnesota which included Jim Grabowska, Inter Faculty Organization (IFO), Darci Stanford, Minnesota State College Faculty (MSCF), Joe Wolf, Ashanti Payne, and Mikaela Johnson, Students United, and Minda Nelson and Angelique McDonald, Minnesota State College Student Association (MSCSA).

The House Public Safety and Security Policy and Finance Committee reviewed the training requirements of licensed peace officers, and expressed concern about the costs associated with training. Law enforcement agencies reported spending over $34 million on training last year, with the state reimbursing only $2.8 million of that cost. No action was taken, but a bill to increase the base funding for officer training, and to address cultural diversity in hiring, is expected soon.

House passes $315 million health insurance relief package

The House’s version of the bill is different than what the Senate approved last week — and it’s a version Gov. Mark Dayton has voiced concerns over. Instead of heading to the other chamber or to the governor’s desk, the bill, SF1, as amended to include HF1 language, will likely move to a conference committee, where it will receive additional, finalized input from members of both chambers.

Passed on a 73-54 vote, the Republican-sponsored bill provides qualifying residents with a 25 percent insurance premium rebate, administered through a Minnesota Management and Budget-established application system. Under the GOP plan, the state would dole out $300 million, plus an additional $15 million to insurance providers for continuing care to certain patients.

The legislation allows for-profit HMOs to enter Minnesota’s individual marketplace, a reform DFLers, including Dayton, have opposed. The House also left out a $150 million state-run reinsurance program. The House did include changes proponents believe will aid rural Minnesotans, like laying the groundwork for an agricultural cooperative health plan and allowing hospitals and clinics dropped from networks to file appeals against providers.

Looking ahead

Next week Wednesday, Minnesota State will give its overview presentation to the House Higher Education and Career Readiness Policy and Finance Committee, and will repeat the presentation to the Senate Committee on Higher Education Finance and Policy on Thursday (see schedule below for exact location and times). If live video of the meeting is available, a link will be included in the schedule.

Read more…

Questions? Contact the Government Relations Team:

Jaime Simonsen
Bernie Omann
Jim Grathwol

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