Legislative Update: January 18, 2019

The Office of Higher Education (OHE) presented before both the House and Senate higher education committees this week. Committee members had the opportunity to meet the new Office of Higher Education Commissioner Dennis Olson.

Born and raised in Cloquet, Commissioner Olson served as the Executive Director of the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council. In this role, Dennis worked closely with tribal elected leaders, the state legislature, state agencies, and the governor to highlight and address issues important to all Tribal Nations and American Indian communities in Minnesota. Prior to his appointment with the Indian Affairs Council, Dennis served as the Director of the Office of Indian Education for the Minnesota Department of Education, working closely with Tribal Nations, urban American Indian communities, and multiple partner agencies and organizations to address key issues impacting Indian Education in Minnesota.

The Senate received greater detail from OHE about the Minnesota State Grant program they oversee. The program has a $198 million annual budget for almost 81,000 recipients. Of those recipients, approximately 35,400 of State Grant recipients attend Minnesota State two-year colleges; and 15,099 attend Minnesota State four-year universities.

There are no committee hearings or floor sessions scheduled for today. Both the Senate and House of Representatives offices will be closed on Monday, January 21 in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Lawmakers will return to work on Tuesday. Both the House and Senate higher education committees meet Tuesday afternoon. The Senate is scheduled to hear presentations from the Masonic Cancer Center and the Minnesota Partnership for Biotechnology and Medical Genomics. The House is scheduled to hear from members and staff about how higher education has impacted them and their families. Students United is also scheduled to present to the committee about their mission, visions, goals and challenges as an organization.

Mark your calendars: Minnesota State Day at the Capitol will be Tuesday, January 29, 2:30-4:00 p.m. in the State Capitol Rotunda. Minnesota State’s 30 state colleges and seven state universities will be at the Capitol to share student and campus stories with legislators and the public.

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