Legislative Update: April 30, 2019

House passes omnibus higher education bill

With less than three weeks until the Legislature’s constitutionally-mandated adjournment date of May 20, the House and the Senate will continue to pass omnibus bills off of their respective floors. The deadline to get omnibus bills off the floor and conference committees to be appointed is tomorrow, Wednesday, May 1.

The House passed the omnibus higher education bill earlier today by a vote of 72-57. There were a number of amendments offered on the floor, but the only amendment that was adopted was an amendment offered by Rep. Ginny Klevorn, DFL-Plymouth, that shifts the funding in the bill for a direct care service corps pilot program at HealthForce Minnesota at Winona State University from going through the Office of Higher Education to going directly to the Minnesota State system for HealthForce Minnesota.

As a reminder, the House bill includes $159 million for Minnesota State, of which $149 million is for campus support. The bill freezes undergraduate tuition for the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 academic years. The $149 million for campus support will fund the tuition freeze.

The bill also includes $10 million for NextGen, $6 million in the first year of the biennium and $4 million in the second year. The NextGen project is a critical technology replacement of the twenty year-old outdated ISRS data system that will benefit all students, faculty, and staff across the state.

The other new money for Minnesota State includes $250,000 for a mental health program at up to five two-year colleges and $200,000 to expand the work on open educational resources with a focus on textbook affordability for students.

The full bill can be found HERE.

The Senate passed their version of the higher education bill last week. Now that the House has passed their bill, conferees will be appointed to work through the differences between the two bills. We will provide an update when a conference committee is announced.

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