The following information was shared via email with the library community by Elaine Keefe, Capitol Hill Associates, in her role as MLA-ITEM lobbyist.
Special Session: Governor Dayton and legislative leaders have reached agreement on all of the issues to be addressed in the special session with the exception of whether a provision curtailing the authority of the State Auditor should be repealed. Governor Dayton wants the provision repealed but Speaker Daudt says the Legislature will not do that.
Letter Speaker Daudt sent to Governor Dayton today, asking to meet tomorrow to set a date for the special session.
Education Bill: I reported last week at the MLA Legislative Committee meeting that Governor Dayton and Speaker Daudt had agreed to spend $525 million over the base budget for E-12 education, with an increase of 2% per year on the general education formula. At that time, the remaining details were being negotiated. On Friday the final bill and spreadsheet were released. As expected, there were no changes to any library appropriations and no change in the library language that had been agreed upon during the regular session. Early Learning Scholarships were increased by $48 million over the biennium, School Readiness was increased by $31 million and Head Start was increased by $10 million.
Other Bills: The remaining bills to be taken up during the special session are the Legacy bill (the same bill that was agreed to by the conference committee), the agriculture/environment bill, a small bonding bill and the jobs and economic development bill. The jobs and economic development bill includes funding for broadband grants of $10,838,000. Although Governor Dayton had initially objected to such a small amount for broadband, he agreed to it in the end. As part of the agreement, an earmark for the city of Annandale was removed. Annandale will have to compete for a broadband grant like everyone else. Finally, the bonding bill cancels $50,000 for the renovation of the Bagley Library that was in the 2014 bonding bill. Those costs cannot be bonded for, according to Senator Stumpf, chair of the Senate Capital Investment Committee.
Elaine Keefe, Capitol Hill Associates