Higher Ed Conference Committee Report stays on the table
As the Senate and House recessed late on Tuesday, all plans indicated that the two chambers would continue to hear and adopt the remaining omnibus bills, which included the higher education bill.
But on Wednesday, the Senate was short a member. Sen. Carla Nelson (R-Rochester) left Saint Paul to be with her ill father. The Senate Republicans have a one-seat majority.
Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, R-Nisswa, conceded that his party would be unable to pass any budget bills until Nelson returned. “We can’t pass any budget without 34 Republican votes,” he said. It’s unclear when that process could resume, or for that matter when Dayton and legislative leaders will start talking budget again.
Omnibus bills must be heard in the body where the bill originated before the other body can hear it. The higher ed bill is a Senate file – which means the Senate must hear the bill first before it can be sent over to the House for any action.
It is unknown when or if the Senate will move on the higher ed bill.
However, the House was able to move forward on their bills. Omnibus bills concerning transportation and taxes were adopted off the House floor. In the $1.1 billion tax bill, one provision would create a first-in-the-nation student loan tax credit.
Dayton did not take action Wednesday on five budget bills — including those for health and human services, environment and education — that reached his desk the night before. The governor has three days to sign or veto those measures.