Governor Dayton proposes $153.3 million in bonding for the University
This morning, Governor Dayton unveiled his 2016 bonding recommendations. The $1.4 billion proposal includes $153.3 million for the University of Minnesota. The governor's proposal provides $55 million for Higher Education Asset Preservation and Replacement (HEAPR), and fully funds the Chemistry and Advanced Materials Science Building ($27.20 million), the Health Sciences Education Facility ($66.70 million), and the Plant Growth Research Facility ($4.4 million). The governor's proposal does not include funding for the Academic and Student Experience Investments or the Pillsbury Hall Renovation.
In a press release, President Kaler responded, "I'm grateful Governor Dayton supports systemwide facility investments for our students. We look forward to building on our partnership with the governor and legislators."
House and Senate higher education committees tour Twin Cities bonding projects
On Thursday, January 14, six legislators and eight legislative staff from the House and Senate higher education committees toured three bonding projects on the Twin Cities campus: the Plant Growth Research Facility, Pillsbury Hall Renovation, and Health Science Education Facility. They also heard overviews of proposed HEAPR projects, the Chemistry and Advanced Materials Science Building, and the Academic and Student Experience Investments. Committee chairs Bud Nornes and Terri Bonoff were in attendance.
State receives extension for REAL ID
On Friday, January 8, the Department of Homeland Security announced a two-year delay in the final phase of implementation of the federal REAL ID Act. As a result, Minnesota residents can continue to use their current state-issued ID, including a Minnesota driver's license, to travel on commercial airlines until January 2018. After that date, federally approved forms of IDs will be required to travel if Minnesota does not align their state-issued IDs with federal law. However, federal facilities now require a federally approved ID.
A state legislative working group met on January 7 and January 14 to determine a timeline for action. The legislature must address a 2009 state law that forbids Minnesota from implementing the federal law.
Supplemental Budget Request meetings underway
The state relations team continues to meet with legislators in their districts and at the Capitol to discuss the University's Supplemental Budget Request. As a reminder, the request includes four items: Cyber Security; Health Training Restoration; Mining Innovation Minnesota; and Healthy Minnesota.
The 2016 legislative deadlines were announced on December 15, 2015 in a memo from House Speaker Daudt and Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk.
The legislature will convene March 8, 2016 and is constitutionally mandated to adjourn by May 23, 2016.
Save the Date: Legislative Kickoff Breakfast
The Legislative Kickoff Breakfast will be held Wednesday, February 24, 7:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. at McNamara Alumni Center. The program will feature an overview of the University's legislative requests, networking, and an opportunity to urge lawmakers to support the University!
The following members of the Minnesota Legislature have recently announced that they will not seek re-election in 2016:
Senator Branden Petersen (R-Andover) and Representative Ann Lenczewski (DFL-Bloomington) resigned in 2015. There will be a special election in each of their districts on February 9, 2016 to fill their seats.
Board of Regents approves FY17 Supplemental Budget Request
On Friday, December 10, the University of Minnesota Board of Regents approved a supplemental budget request that was submitted to the governor and legislature for fiscal year 2017. The request includes four items:
Health training restoration ($10.5 million recurring)
Restore funding for two critical health programs formerly financially supported by UCare:
Cyber security ($19 million one-time)
Upgrade the University's network to improve data protection systemwide for students, faculty, staff, and public users. New hardware and software will allow the University to meet exponentially growing technology needs.
Mining Innovation Minnesota ($3.6 million recurring)
Revitalize Minnesota's mining region through research coordinated with key stakeholders to maximize resource recovery, diversify our state's mineral opportunity portfolio to include higher value metallic products, and create technologies to reduce sulfate in our water.
Healthy Minnesota ($3.25 million recurring; $2.5 million one-time)
Improve access to quality health care across Minnesota:
On Monday, December 14, President Kaler sent a letter detailing the request to Minnesota Management and Budget Commissioner Myron Frans.
Senator Scalze announces retirement
On Wednesday, December 9, Senator Bev Scalze (DFL) of Little Canada announced that she would not seek a second term. She joins Senator Dave Brown, Senator Barb Goodwin, Representative Ann Lenczewski, Senator Julianne Ortman, and Representative Kim Norton, who have already announced they will not seek re-election.
Economic Budget Forecast
Today, Minnesota Management and Budget announced a projected state budget surplus of $1.87 billion for the current biennium, up from $865 million in May. Of the current surplus, $594 million will be automatically allocated to reserves and $71 million to the Environment Funds, leaving $1.2 billion available for the 2016 legislative session. The next forecast will be released around the start of session on March 9.
Grand Opening of the Microbiology Research Facility
Also today, the University of Minnesota celebrated the grand opening of the Microbiology Research Facility, the fourth and final building of the Biomedical Discovery District. Partially funded by the state, the district comprises state-of-the-art facilities promoting collaboration and interdisciplinary research.
The Microbiology Research Facility will be home to the Department of Microbiology, as well as other faculty from across the Academic Health Center. The building's 80,000 square feet will include labs and office space dedicated to researching infectious diseases and developing new drugs and vaccines.
Greater Minnesota outreach visits continue
Over the past four months, University of Minnesota president Eric Kaler and University leaders traveled across Greater Minnesota to raise awareness of the University's statewide impact. Read the press release on the visits.
President Kaler's most recent visits were to Northeast and West Central Minnesota. In Hibbing, President Kaler and Dean Leon Assael met with Senator David Tomassoni to showcase the partnership between the University and Hibbing Community College in providing a training location for forth year dental students. President Kaler also met with Representative Jennifer Schultz at the Duluth campus; Representative Mary Franson and Senator Bill Ingebrigtsen in Alexandria; Representative Paul Anderson in Starbuck; Senator Torrey Westrom and Representative Jeff Backer in Morris; and Representative Jim Knoblach in St. Cloud.
President Kaler presents capital request to Minnesota Management and Budget
On Monday, October 26, President Kaler presented the University's 2016 capital request to Minnesota Management and Budget commissioner Myron Frans and members of his executive budget team. This meeting marked the beginning of the bonding bill process, providing an opportunity for the University to present its pressing capital needs, from which the agency will make its recommendations to the governor.
Throughout the summer and fall, President Kaler and other University leaders have presented the capital request to legislators, staff, and stakeholders. The governor is required to release his 2016 bonding recommendations to the Legislature by January 15. The Legislature reconvenes on March 8.
Senate staff visit the Twin Cities campus
On October 27, Minnesota Senate staff visited the Visible Heart Lab to learn more about University research. Dr. Paul Iaizzo, director of the lab, and his research students showed their current experiments, which explore topics such as pericardial delivery of various drugs to minimize arrhythmias, new prototype devices, and new procedures for implantation.
Peggy Flanagan elected to House, Senator Barb Goodwin and Representative Ann Lenczewski announce retirements
Peggy Flanagan elected to House, Senator Barb Goodwin and Representative Ann Lenczewski announce retirements
On Tuesday, November 3, a special election was held to fill the House seat left vacant by former Representative Ryan Winkler. Peggy Flanagan (DFL) won with 96.4 percent of the vote. Representative Flanagan has a bachelor of arts degree in child psychology from the University of Minnesota and works in nonprofit management.
Senator Barb Goodwin (DFL) of Columbia Heights announced that she would not seek re-election. She will finish out her second term as vice chair of both the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Judiciary Budget Division.
Representative Ann Lenczewski (DFL) of Bloomington announced that she will retire from the Legislature likely in December. She served nine terms and was the DFL lead on the House Taxes Committee.
They join Senator Dave Brown, Senator Julianne Ortman, and Representative Kim Norton, who have already announced they will not seek re-election.
Board approves 2016 Capital Request
On October 8, the University of Minnesota's Board of Regents voted to approve President Kaler's proposed capital request plan for the 2016 legislative session. The request includes six projects: Higher Education Asset Preservation and Replacement (HEAPR); Duluth Chemistry and Advanced Materials Sciences Building; Health Sciences Education Facility; Plant Growth Research Facility; Academic and Student Experience Investments; and Pillsbury Hall Renovation. Governor Dayton will make his bonding bill project recommendations in January, and the Minnesota Legislature will begin preparing its bonding bills when it reconvenes on March 8, 2016.
Bonding tours are underway
Both the House and Senate capital investment committees, as well as officials with Minnesota Management and Budget and the Governor's Office, have spent the last several weeks touring bonding project proposals throughout Minnesota. These tours have included several stops at University of Minnesota campuses, allowing the University to show firsthand the importance of its 2016 capital request.
The following tours have taken place:
The Senate Capital Investment Committee will tour projects on the Twin Cities campus on December 15.
Greater Minnesota legislative outreach
This summer and fall, President Kaler and University leaders have traveled to legislative districts across Greater Minnesota in an effort to raise awareness of the University of Minnesota's statewide impact. During these trips, the president has met with legislators, alumni, and community members to foster connections and learn how the University can better serve these communities. To date, visits have included stops in Duluth, Winona, Crookston, Willmar, Morris, Austin, and Albert Lea. The president will visit Willmar, Marshall, Alexandria, Morris, and St. Cloud in the coming weeks.
Additional campus visits
The Office of Government and Community Relations hosted several campus visits for legislators and staff throughout the summer and fall. The purpose of these visits is for participants to learn more about the work of the University and interact with University faculty, leaders, and students.
The first of the visits, on August 12, focused on the health sciences. Legislative staff visited the Community University Health Care Clinic; the Stem Cell Institute; the Clinical and Translational Science Institute Van; the School of Dentistry Simulation Lab, where they were able to drill on artificial teeth; and finally the Visible Heart Lab, where they could hold a 3D-printed heart.
The second visit, on September 9, highlighted Twin Cities campus facilities in St. Paul. Legislative staff received a tour of the Veterinary Medical Center, the Vet Diagnostic Lab, the Vet Isolation Labs, and the Aquaponics Research Space and ended at The Raptor Center.
On September 29, state legislators from the committees on higher education and health and human services visited the Medical School for an event titled "Project Medical Education." Legislators were invited to step into the shoes of a medical student by learning about the admissions process, participating in a mock white coat ceremony, learning about the curriculum and training in the first four years, and continuing on to residency where they shadowed a medical school student and resident on hospital rounds.
On October 6, legislative staff visited the Duluth campus. They toured the campus, participated in a virtual reality classroom experiment, and visited the NRRI facility.
The Legislative Action Network at the State Fair
The Office of Government and Community Relations hosted a Legislative Action Network booth for four days at the State Fair this year. Over 300 people signed up to join the Legislative Action Network, so they can receive action alerts to show support for the University at the Minnesota Legislature.