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

Legislative Prep 2016

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.

Happy precinct caucus day!

The Legislative session begins one week from today.  Here are some key things to know:

State Economic Forecast:  The February forecast was released last Friday.  The projected state budget surplus is now $900 million, down from the $1.2 billion that was projected in early December.  This will make it much tougher for anyone hoping for new spending or tax cuts.

Governor’s Budget:  Governor Dayton is set to release his supplemental budget recommendations on March 15.  He has said that, given the downturn in the surplus, he is likely to propose a limited amount of one-time spending.  Previously he had said he would propose $100 million in broadband grants to underserved communities.  This is the sort of spending that could be done on a one-time basis.  The Governor’s top priority remains universal pre-school for all 4 year olds, but legislators remain skeptical, especially in the House.

Library Construction Grants:  This Thursday, March 3, the House Capital Investment Committee will hold a day-long hearing where state agencies will present their bonding requests that made it into the Governor’s Capital Budget.  MDE has been allotted a 20 minute time period from 11:40am to noon to present Library Construction Grants and a proposal for improvements to the Red Lake School.  The hearing will be in Room 200 State Office Building.

Committee Deadlines:  Deadlines this session are quite early, ensuring that the session moves at a fast pace.  Here are the dates:

First deadline:  Friday, April 1.  By this date a bill must have passed through all of the policy committees it needs to be heard in and have either been sent to a finance committee or to the floor in order to remain alive.

Second Deadline:  Friday, April 8.  By this date a bill must have met the criteria for meeting the first deadline in BOTH the House and Senate to remain alive.

Third Deadline:  Thursday, April 21.  By this date the omnibus spending bills must be passed out of the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee.

Legislative Calendar:  Traditionally the Legislature takes a week-long break for Passover and Easter.  This year because of the shortness of the session and because Passover and Easter are a month apart, legislators will instead take two short breaks.  The Legislature will be on a break for Easter beginning on Friday, March 25 and returning at noon on Tuesday, March 29.  The Legislature will take Friday, April 22 off because Passover begins that day at sundown.  The legislative session must adjourn no later than Monday, May 23 at midnight.

Legislative Retirements:  Amid the growing number of legislators who have announced that they will not seek re-election this year, the most notable for the library community is Senator LeRoy Stumpf (DFL – Plummer).  Senator Stumpf has been a long-time champion for libraries and we will miss him.  For a complete list of retiring legislators, follow this link:  http://www.leg.state.mn.us/lrl/histleg/retire

Elaine Keefe, Capitol Hill Associates

Prepping for the 2016 Legislative Session

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

Governor’s Capital Budget:   Today Governor Dayton released his capital budget request for 2016.  It includes $2 million for Library Construction Grants.  It also includes one academic library project — $820,000 to relocate the library at the Minnesota State Community and Technical College, Wadena and convert the space vacated by the library into a student services center.  The governor’s proposal does not include any funding for the East Central Regional Library headquarters and public library in Cambridge.

The governor is requesting $1.4 billion for general fund supported projects and $122 million in projects supported by other funds, for a grand total of $1.522 billion.  This is a very ambitious proposal.  Legislators typically authorize $1 billion in capital projects in a biennium.  House Republicans are saying they’d prefer to spend no more than $850 million in 2016.

Committee Deadlines:  House and Senate leaders have announced committee deadlines for the 2016 legislative session, which begins on Tuesday, March 8.  They are as follows:

  • First deadline – Friday April 1: Committees must act favorably on bills in the house of origin.
  • Second Deadline – Friday, April 8:  Committees must act favorably on bills that met the first deadline in the other house.
  • Third Deadline –  Thursday, April 21:  The House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee must act favorably on major appropriations and finance bills.
  • Session must adjourn no later than Monday, May 23.Elaine Keefe, Capitol Hill Associates

Planning for 2016 Legislative Session

Preparations for the 2016 Legislative Session is a work in progress for the Minnesota Library Association (MLA) and CRPLSA .  The 2016 MLA Legislative Chair will be Barb Misselt, East Central Regional Library (ECRL) director. And, an action item on the agenda at the most recent MLA conference was the approval of the 2016 platform – in concept.  This approval is always given with an eye toward flexibility knowing that issues may change dramatically once the session gets underway.

Vote for Libraries buttonThe start of the regular session will be Tuesday, March 8, 2016.

Most current iteration of the 2016 Library Legislative platform.  Once finalized in early January, Arrowhead Library System (ALS) staff will re-format.