Legislative Update – April 9, 2018

Lawmakers return to St. Paul today after a week-long Easter/Passover recess, and will have approximately six weeks to wrap up the 2018 legislative session. The Legislature must adjourn by May 21. Now that the first two committee deadlines have been met, lawmakers have until April 20, the third and final committee deadline, to finalize finance bills. Some of the big issues still yet to be resolved include a bonding bill, supplemental finance bills, and tax conformity.

Legislative leaders agree that adapting state tax law to federal law is the most complicated issue still facing lawmakers. Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, R-Nisswa, said he believes coming to a place where everyone can agree will be the biggest hurdle of the session. House Speaker Kurt Daudt, R-Cambridge, said House Republicans will put forward their tax plan shortly after they return to the Capitol.

The Senate Higher Education Finance and Policy committee will hear two bills on Tuesday, followed by a presentation by the Midwestern Higher Education Compact. The first bill, SF3787, appropriates funding for a teacher licensing preparation program for licensure as a teacher of blind or visually impaired at the University of Minnesota. The other bill, SF3058, establishes a student loan counseling grant.

Over in the House on Tuesday, the Higher Education and Career Readiness Policy and Finance Committee will hear from the Office of Higher Education Commissioner Larry Pogemiller regarding Governor Dayton’s higher education supplemental budget request. As a reminder, Dayton is recommending $10 million one-time funds for Minnesota State to fund campus support, and $8.5 million ongoing support for Next Gen.

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