The following information was shared via email with the library community on Thursday, January 26, 2017 by Sam Walseth, Capitol Hill Associates, in his role as the MLA-ITEM lobbyist.
Dayton’s Budget Plan
Governor Dayton announced a budget plan earlier this week that would add significant new revenue into the public education system. $371 million would go toward “2&2” on the basic formula allowance for all students. Another $75 million would go toward expanding his voluntary pre-K program. $40 million would go toward special education. He also proposed $68 million to help solve the Teacher Retirement Association (TRA) solvency problem.
There’s no new funding proposed for library programs, but your legislative team is working on that!
We’re well aware that 2016 did not produce a bonding bill and our $2 million for library renovation and construction projects is still in limbo. Governor Dayton at the start of this session announced a $1.5 billion bonding package that includes the $2 million for library renovation and construction. Later today the Senate Capital Investment Committee is expected to move a significant bonding package out of committee that will include the $2 million for library renovation and construction. The Senate bill is a ‘dust-off’ of the bill that almost passed last session. As for the House, it’s unclear as to what their game plan is on bonding at this point.
RLBSS & Multi-County Multi-Type Funding
Our bill to improve the formula and funding for RLBSS and the Multi-types will be chief authored by Rep. Bud Nornes (GOP Fergus Falls) and Sen. Gary Dahms (GOP Redwood Falls). We’re still gathering co-authors so we won’t have a bill introduction with a bill number for some time yet.
We’ve also begun discussions with and bill drafting for the Library Legacy request, but that won’t appear for some time yet.