Higher education omnibus bills move to the floor
Monday evening, both the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee passed their respective higher education omnibus bills.
The Senate Finance committee passed the higher education bill and rolled it into one large supplemental budget bill. Committee Chair Sen. Julie Rosen, R-Vernon Center, said SF 3656 will be used as the omnibus supplemental finance bill.
As of the time of passage, the higher education bill did not have a budget target. However, in Senate Finance Committee Tuesday evening, committee members finished hearing all omnibus bills, and an amendment was offered to the higher education section appropriating $1 million to Minnesota State for NextGen. The amendment passed.
As shared earlier, the Senate bill does reallocate $1 million of surplus funding from the college occupational scholarship pilot program administered by the Office of Higher Education and appropriates that funding to the following:
- $500,000 one-time appropriation to Minnesota State for renewal of workforce development scholarships
- $300,000 one-time appropriation to the Office of Higher Education for the State Grant program
- $100,000 one-time appropriation to the Office of Higher Education for the Agricultural Educators Loan Forgiveness program
- $50,000 one-time appropriation to the Office of Higher Education for the Student Loan Debt Counseling program
- $50,000 one-time appropriation to the Office of Higher Education for a Teacher Preparation Program Design Grant
In the House, the Ways and Means committee amended the higher education omnibus bill, and it was rolled into a larger bill with the K-12 education omnibus bill. With the amendment, the bill now does the following:
- Reduces the one-time $5 million appropriation to Metropolitan State University’s cybersecurity program to $1 million
- Appropriates that reduction of $4 million one-time funds to Minnesota State for campus support
- Deletes the one-time $500,000 appropriation to the workforce development scholarship program
- Appropriates that elimination of $500,000 to the University of Minnesota
- Appropriates $500,000 of one-time funds to the Office of Higher Education for the State Grant program and other programs
The next stop for the bills is the House and Senate floor, where the higher education bill could be heard as early as Thursday.
Governor Dayton lays out his parameters to end the session
On Monday, Governor Mark Dayton sent a letter to legislative leadership outlining his vision for the remaining weeks of session. Dayton laid out the parameters he believes will bring a “productive and timely conclusion” to the legislative session. Those include: transparency and public accountability in end-of-session negotiations, put all offers in writing, all final bills should be posted and publicly available for review for a minimum of 24 hours, end-of-session negotiations should include commissioners and minority legislators, the House and Senate must agree on a unified position before Dayton engages in negotiations, and he is asking that joint budget targets be reached no later than May 11. The Governor indicates in his letter that he does not plan to call a special session.
Legislators have just under four weeks to wrap everything up, including the supplemental budget bill, tax bill and bonding bill.
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