Legislative Update

The following information was shared via email with the library community by Elaine Keefe, Capitol Hill Associates, in her role as the MLA-ITEM lobbyist.

Governor’s Budget:  Governor Dayton released his supplemental budget proposal today.  He is proposing to spend a total of $698 million (including $117 million for tax cuts).  Of that spending, $411 million is one-time spending and $287 million is ongoing spending.  The governor proposes to leave $200 million on the bottom line to guard against a future economic downturn.  This is consistent with his statement last week in his State of the State address that his highest priority was protecting the fiscal stability of the state.  Here are items of interest in the proposed budget:

$100 million for Border to Border Broadband grants.  Earlier in the year Governor Dayton had announced that he would propose $100 million for broadband, but after the February forecast projected a smaller surplus, there was speculation that this amount might go down.  Happily, this was not the case.  This is a one-time appropriation.

$21.5 million for a one-time increase in Local Government Aid to cities.

$25 million for a one-time increase in County Program Aid.

$25 million for a pre-kindergarten program offered through public schools.  The funding would be targeted to high-poverty areas and those with a lack of three and four star Parent Aware rated child care programs.  This funding would increase to $40 million in FY 18 and $60 million in FY 19.

A detailed description of each item in Governor Dayton’s proposal can be found here.

Bills of Interest:  Since the Legislature convened one week ago, legislators have introduced 546 bills in the Senate and 747 bills in the House.  Here are some bills of interest to MLA and ITEM:

HF 2381 (Baker) Provides $35 million for border to border broadband grants.  The bill will be heard in the House Greater Minnesota Economic and Workforce Development Policy Committee this Thursday.

HF 2385 (Lesch)/ SF 2703 (Dibble)  Prohibits employers from requiring applicants or employees to divulge their username or password to any personal social media account.

HF 2386 (Lesch)/ SF 2705 (Chamberlain)  Prohibits educational institutions from requiring students or prospective students to divulge their username or password to any personal social media account.

HF 2537 (Youakim)/ SF 2510 (Kent)  Establishes the right of student journalists to determine the content of school newspapers and student-led publications, unless the content is profane, harassing or intimidating.

HF 2597 (Green)  Repeals the requirement that 47% of the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund must be allocated to the State Arts Board.

HF 2645 (B. Johnson)/ SF 2296 (Nienow) Provides $2,414,000 to the city of Cambridge to build a new public library and headquarters for the East Central Regional Library.

HF 2898 (Lucero)  Protecting student data privacy on 1:1 devices issued by an educational institution.

HF 2900 (Lucero)  Protecting student privacy on personal electronic devices.

HF 2939 (C. Johnson)/ SF 2560 (Sheran) Provides funding for the Travers des Sioux Library Cooperative to hire licensed school media specialists to provide services to schools that do not have licensed school media specialists.  This was initiated by a former employee of TDS, and is not supported by the TDS Board.  I do not expect this bill to advance.

HF 3069 (Peterson) / SF 2462 (Carlson)  Exempts information systems software from the requirement that schools use a competitive bidding process for purchases.

SF 2294 (Dahms) Provides $30 million in bond proceeds for border to border broadband grants.

SF 2447 (Schmit)  Provides $100 million from the general fund for border to border broadband grants.

Elaine Keefe, Capitol Hill Associates