Legislative Update – March 28, 2018

House hears Minnesota State supplemental budget request

Minnesota State presented its $31 million supplemental budget request to the House Higher Education and Career Readiness Policy and Finance Committee on Tuesday. Rep. Bud Nornes, R-Fergus Falls, the committee chair, is sponsoring the bill, HF3638, would appropriate $10 million for campus support, and $21 million to replace the system’s current student record system with NextGen. The bill was approved, as amended, and now awaits action by House Ways and Means Committee. Its companion, SF3671, will be heard in the Senate Higher Education Policy and Finance committee on Thursday.

Minnesota State’s current record system, ISRS, is used by nearly 400,000 people across every campus, including every faculty and staff member and every student, to track registration, payroll, generate transcripts and register for courses. It was developed over 20 years ago, using a combination of different programming language.

According to Scott Olson, president of Winona State University, it’s simply too outdated to meet system needs. “I’m quite worried about what it means for students if we don’t do this,” Olson said. “There are no programmers being prepared today to program in that language, so when the last four or five that we have retire, there won’t be anyone left to improve or repair ISRS.”

Laura King, the system’s chief financial officer, said that the committee has already provided $4 million in base funding. King anticipates that this additional $21 million in base funding will cover the remainder of the project based on their current forecast. “We expect it to take seven years because we’re going to be implementing it in waves,” she said. “This is an extremely large data system.”

Governor Dayton signs

On Tuesday afternoon, Governor Dayton signed the bill giving more than 30,000 state workers raises.

The House suspended its rules Monday to pass HF4067/ SF3154* on a 93-33 vote. The Senate approved the bill 56-10 earlier in the day.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Marion O’Neill (R-Maple Lake) and Sen. Jeremy Miller (R-Winona), ratified state employee contracts for:

  • American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, including Unit 8 and Unit 225
  • Minnesota Association of Professional Employees
  • Middle Management Association
  • State residential teachers
  • Minnesota Government Engineering Council
  • Inter Faculty Organization
  • Minnesota Nurses Association
  • Commissioner’s Plan
  • Managerial Plan
  • Office of Higher Education Compensation Plan
  • Compensation Plan for MnSure
  • Minnesota state personnel plan for administrators

In a statement, Gov. Mark Dayton expressed his support. “I thank the Minnesota House of Representatives for joining their colleagues in the Minnesota Senate to approve modest wage increases for more than 30,000 hard-working state employees and their families.”

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