Legislative Updates – March 30, 2018

Legislators head home for break

It was another busy week at the Capitol as both bodies worked to move bills through the legislative process before the second committee deadline yesterday, and the start of a 10 day Easter/Passover break. Legislative activity will resume Monday, April 9. Due to the legislative break, the next legislative update sent from the Government Relations team will be Monday, April 9.

Wednesday House Higher Education and Career Readiness Committee

On Wednesday, the House Higher Education and Career Readiness committee had a full agenda as they looked to wrap up their work in advance of the legislative break.

Rep. Jim Knoblach (R-St. Cloud) introduced HF3817 which would require the Board to transfer the system office to a campus(es). The goal is to provide better access to students as well as faculty by streamlining operations with the central office on campus. The bill was held over for possible inclusion in the Omnibus Higher Education bill.

Vice Chancellor King and Associate Vice Chancellor Yolitz shared with the committee background and details on the current system office location in the Wells Fargo building. AVC Yolitz shared details about the process when reviewing the system office location.

Rep. Bud Nornes (R-Fergus Falls), HF3415, as amended, would require postsecondary institutions to provide information on legal resources to victims of harassment or assault. The bill was held over Wednesday by the House Higher Education and Career Readiness Policy and Finance Committee for possible omnibus bill inclusion. The companion, SF3296, awaits action by the Senate Higher Education Finance and Policy Committee. Sen. Greg Clausen (DFL-Apple Valley) is the sponsor.

Existing state statute requires every postsecondary institution to have a campus sexual violence policy. The policy must also contain more than a dozen statutorily mandated provisions pertaining to victims’ rights, as well as investigation and disciplinary processes. The bill would amend that to include this additional provision, requiring that legal resources information is provided to victims.

Senate hears Minnesota State supplemental budget request

On Thursday, the Senate Higher Education committee heard details on Minnesota State’s $31 million supplemental budget request. Chancellor Malhotra, Winona State University President Olson, and Vice Chancellor King.

Chancellor Malhotra shared that the $21 million requested for NextGen to replace ISRS impacts all aspects of Minnesota State operations, every student, faculty, and staff interact with this system to manage everything from student records to payroll. “Our project objective is clear and unambiguous: Provide an enhanced student experience and “future proof” our technology investment. Put simply, running the core of our enterprise is a 20 year-old system which is at risk because it is nearing its end of life and which is not meeting our students’ needs.”

With regards to the $10 million campus support request, the Chancellor told committee members, “The financial pressures our campuses are facing are real. I have encouraged campus leaders to be very open with their legislative delegations about their respective budget challenges and the significant impacts that will be felt across our college and universities without supplemental funding. Simply put, we need your help.”

The committee wrapped up their last meeting before the legislative break by hearing from Office of Higher Education Commissioner Pogemiller regarding Governor Dayton’s higher education budget priorities; the University of Minnesota’s $10 million request that would hold in-state, undergraduate tuition flat; and the private colleges regarding changes to the state grant that would modify the assigned student responsibility

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