Legislature adjourns sine die, no bonding bill
Last night, the Minnesota Legislature adjourned the 2016 regular session without reaching agreement on transportation funding or a bonding bill. However, the House and Senate did pass tax and supplemental budget bills in the final 24 hours.
In a press conference this afternoon, Governor Dayton expressed his disappointment in the legislature's failure to pass a bonding bill, particularly emphasizing the need for a new Health Sciences Education Facility at the University of Minnesota.
The governor now holds the authority to call the legislature to a special session. It is expected he will delay doing so until an agreement can be reached with legislative leaders. Unlike in budget or odd-numbered years, there is no risk of a shutdown of state government.
President Kaler will issue a statement later today thanking Governor Dayton for his support of the University of Minnesota and encouraging the legislature to pass a bonding bill with increased investment in the U.
Supplemental budget bill awaits governor's signature
On Sunday, May 22, the House and Senate passed a supplemental budget bill, including funding for two University requested FY17 initiatives:
The bill also contains policy and funding for these University programs:
Read the bill. The bill does not include any language regarding fetal tissue research at the University of Minnesota. Governor Dayton has 14 days to sign or veto the bill.
Legislature passes LCCMR bill
The legislature also passed the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR) bill on Sunday, May 22. The bill contains $15.7 million for 33 University of Minnesota projects, including $1.1 million for the Mining Innovatio n Minnesota initiative.
Read the bill. Governor Dayton has 14 days to sign or veto the bill.
House recommends $65.8 million for University bonding projects; conferees appointed
On Wednesday, May 18, the House announced the details of its bonding bill recommendations. The $800 million proposal contains $65.8 million for two University of Minnesota projects:
Higher Education Asset Preservation and Replacement (HEAPR) - $31.6 million
Chemistry and Advanced Materials Science Building - $27.2 million
On Thursday, May 19, the Star Tribune published an op-ed written by President Eric Kaler, "Please, legislators, invest in state's infrastructure before it's too late." Later that day, University of Minnesota advocates sent 493 emails to 126 legislators, urging their support for a bonding bill. Last week, advocates sent 1,928 emails to 181 legislators in support of a bonding bill.
The Bonding Bill Conference Committee members were appointed late Thursday night:
The House and Senate have yet to agree on a bonding bill target. The legislature must pass all bills by Monday, May 23.
Senate Higher Ed receives OLA report on human research participant protection program
On Thursday, May 19, the Office of the Legislative Auditor presented a review of restructuring under way at the University of Minnesota related to human participant research and clinical drug studies. Legislative Auditor James Nobles testified that the University has implemented many encouraging and ambitious changes and more are under way. Vice President for Research Brian Herman and Medical School dean and Vice President for Health Sciences Brooks Jackson testified that the implementation plan is on time and on target, and answered legislators' questions. Regent Richard Beeson also testified and answered questions.
LCCMR conference committee convenes
The conference committee for the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR) bill met for the first time on Wednesday, May 18. The Senate and House versions of the bill are very different. The Senate version contains the full list of project recommendations by the commission, while the House has made several adjustments, including the removal of many University of Minnesota projects. To date, the conference committee has approved only the projects and policy language that are in both the House and Senate bills, with the caveat that the committee can revisit those approved projects before a final conference committee report vote.
The Senate LCCMR bill conferees are Senators Kari Dziedzic, Torrey Westrom, and John Hoffman. The House LCCMR bill conferees are Representatives Tom Hackbarth, Tom Anzelc, and Steve Green.
With 10 days left until the constitutionally mandated end of the legislative session, the conference committee on the supplemental budget bill is waiting until the governor and legislative leaders agree on budget and bonding targets in order to make final changes to the bill. Also, the House has yet to release details on its $600 million bonding bill proposal.
Taxes, transportation, and bonding are the key areas of negotiation this year. Legislative leaders have suggested that once they reach a transportation funding agreement, the remaining issues should fall into place. On Thursday, Governor Dayton suggested he would propose a transportation funding compromise to the House and Senate on Monday.
Kaler sends letter to supplemental budget bill conference committee chairs
The House and Senate have appointed the following conferees to the supplemental budget conference committee:
Today, President Eric Kaler sent a letter to the conference committee chairs, Senator Cohen and Representative Knoblach, regarding the University's positions on higher education provisions in the bill.
Bonding bill fails Senate vote
On Thursday, May 5, the Senate fell one vote short of passing a $1.5 billion bonding bill. The failed bill included funding for four projects requested by the University. All bonding bills require a three-fifths majority to pass - 81 representatives and 41 senators.
The House and Senate are expected to continue to work on a bonding bill agreement and to fast track the legislation as the May 23 constitutionally mandated end of the legislative session draws near. View a comparison of capital request recommendations.
House and Senate pass higher ed provisions
On Monday, April 25, the House passed its omnibus K-12 and higher education policy bill, which provides no new funding for the University. The House bill contains the following provisions:
On Wednesday, April 27, the House passed its omnibus agriculture, environment and natural resources, employment and economic development, and energy policy and finance bill, which contains the following provisions:
Yesterday, Thursday, April 28, the Senate passed a supplemental budget bill, which provides $22.1 million in new funding for the University. The Senate bill contains the following provisions:
It is unclear how these non-companion bills will move forward to conference committee; however, the May 23 constitutionally mandated end of the legislative session is drawing near. Conference committee members will likely be named next week.
Senate bonding recommendation to be released Monday
On Monday, May 2, the Senate will announce its bonding recommendations. On April 7, the House announced a $600 million target for bonding, but other specifics have yet to be released. On January 15, Governor Dayton recommended $153.3 million in bonding for the University of Minnesota. View a comparison of bonding recommendations.
Legislative Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources legislation
On Wednesday, April 27, the Senate Finance Committee passed its omnibus Legislative Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources bill, which provides $16.5 million for 39 University research projects.
Senate supplemental budget bill provides $22.1M for U of M
Over the past week, the Senate Finance Committee has held several hearings regarding its version of the omnibus supplemental budget bill. As of now, the bill provides funding to the University of Minnesota for the following initiatives:
The Senate is expected to vote on its supplemental budget bill next week. View a comparison of the House's and Senate's supplemental budget proposals.
House Ways and Means amends higher ed bill
On Tuesday, April 21, the House Ways and Means Committee heard its higher education bill. The committee amended the fetal tissue research center provision to address some University concerns. The bill contains provisions related to Department of Psychiatry clinical drug trials and a collegiate recovery program at the University of Minnesota Rochester. The House is expected to vote on the bill next week.
U leaders advocate for legislative request
Throughout the legislative session, University leaders have submitted letters to the editor across the state in support of the University's legislative requests. The following op-eds were recently published:
Women's hockey team honored by governor
On Monday, April 20, Governor Dayton hosted a reception at his residence to celebrate the Gopher Women's Hockey team winning the NCAA championship. The governor also proclaimed April 18, 2016, to be Gopher Women's Hockey National Champions Day. Read the proclamation.
Third deadline yesterday
Yesterday marked the third committee deadline at the legislature. Committees of jurisdiction must act favorably on major appropriation and finance bills in order for the bills to continue in the legislative process.
President Kaler meets with Governor Dayton and Speaker Daudt
This week, President Kaler met with Governor Dayton at the governor's residence, and later with Speaker Daudt at the State Capitol, to discuss University of Minnesota legislative priorities.
Senate targets announced
On Wednesday, April 13, the Senate announced its FY17 supplemental budget targets. The targets include $47.7 million in increased spending for higher education, including $21 million for University initiatives. As a reminder, the House target provides no increased spending for higher education, while the governor has proposed an increase of $76.25 million for higher education, including $35.25 million for University initiatives.
Higher ed committees pass omnibus bills, Kaler testifies
Both the House and Senate higher education committees passed their versions of omnibus bills on Wednesday, April 13.
The House version of the bill includes:
The Senate bill includes approximately $21 million for the University of Minnesota:
The Senate higher education omnibus bill is expected to be heard in the Senate Finance Committee tomorrow, April 15.
UMAA hosts breakfast for Capitol alums
On Tuesday, April 12, legislators and legislative staff who are alumni of the University of Minnesota attended a networking breakfast with current students who are serving as interns at the State Capitol. President Kaler addressed the crowd of nearly 50 alumni, highlighting the critical role the University plays in the state and how important it is for alumni to network with current students. U of M Alumni Association CEO Lisa Lewis also addressed the group, discussing how having a robust alumni network can benefit everyone. This inaugural event will become an annual occurrence, with the goal of developing a strong University community at the State Capitol.
Wednesday, April 13, was Bulldog Day at the State Capitol. University of Minnesota Duluth students rallied for the University's requests and spoke with lawmakers about their experiences at UMD.
Mining Innovation Minnesota legislation
On Monday, April 12, Dr. Rolf Weberg, executive director of the Natural Resources Research Institute (NRRI) at UMD, testified before the Senate Natural Resources, Economic Development, and Agriculture Committee in support of a bill funding the University's Mining Innovation Minnesota initiative. The legislation would appropriate $3.6 million in recurring funding for solutions-based research at NRRI. The focus of the research is to assist the mining industry to compete in today's dynamic global market and regulatory climate. The legislation was laid over for possible inclusion in the committee's omnibus budget bill.
The following legislators have recently announced they will not seek re-election in 2016:
House announces budget and bonding targets
Yesterday, April 7, House leadership announced its financial targets for a FY17 supplemental budget bill and bonding bill. The targets provide $600 million for a bonding bill and no increases in spending for higher education.
Last month, Governor Dayton proposed $76.25 million for higher education in his FY17 supplemental budget recommendations, including $35.25 million for University initiatives. In January, the governor proposed a $1.4 billion bonding bill, including $153.3 million for University projects.
The Senate is expected to release its targets next week.
Kaler and University leaders testify in House Higher Ed Committee
On Tuesday, April 5, the House Higher Education Policy and Finance Committee heard several bills to be considered for its omnibus bill. Three of the bills would directly impact the University:
President Eric Kaler, Vice President for Research Brian Herman, and Medical School dean and Vice President for Health Sciences Brooks Jackson testified on these three bills and expressed their concerns.
HEAPR projects highlighted in Senate Capital Investment
On Tuesday, April 5, the Senate Capital Investment Committee held a hearing on asset preservation. Vice President of University Services Pam Wheelock testified in support of the University's capital request and, in particular, the importance of the University's first capital request priority, Higher Education Asset Preservation and Replacement (HEAPR). VP Wheelock highlighted several HEAPR projects across the state and expounded on the meaning of the slogan "HEAPR Is Cheaper." Nick Wilson, executive director of the Minnesota Student Legislative Coalition, testified in support of the request.
Rochester campus recovery program legislation heard in Senate
Also on Tuesday, April 5, the Senate Higher Education and Workforce Development Committee heard the Senate version of the bill to fund a collegiate recovery program at the University of Minnesota Rochester. UMR vice chancellor Lori Carrell testified in support of the bill.
Second deadline today
Today marks the second deadline at the legislature. In order for a policy bill to continue in the legislative process, it must have been heard by all relevant policy committees in both the House and Senate.
Women's hockey team visits House
The House of Representatives recognized the Gopher women's hockey team on Thursday, April 7, for their seventh national championship win. Twenty members of the team, along with Coach Brad Frost, attended.
Over 200 advocates rally for Support the U Day
On Tuesday, over 200 students, alums, faculty, and staff visited the State Capitol for Support the U Day. Collectively, University advocates held over 75 meetings with legislators and sent over 200 tweets with the hashtags #umnproud and #whystudentsmatter.
Board of Regents hosts legislative breakfast
On Wednesday, March 30, the Board of Regents invited all legislators to join them for breakfast at the Minnesota History Center. Over 20 legislators attend, including the House Higher Education Committee and House Capital Investment chairs.
First legislative deadline passes
Yesterday marked the first legislative deadline. For a policy bill to continue in the legislative process, it must have received a hearing in the House or Senate.
Rochester campus recovery program legislation
On Wednesday, March 30, the House Higher Education Committee heard a bill that would fund a collegiate recovery program at the University of Minnesota's Rochester campus. The program would provide structured academic, career, and personal support for students in recovery from alcohol, chemical, and other addictive behaviors, while also facilitating completion of a postsecondary educational program. UMR vice chancellor Lori Carrell testified in support of the bill.
Lt. Gov. Smith visits Duluth campus
On Tuesday, March 22, Lieutenant Governor Tina Smith convened a roundtable discussion at the University of Minnesota Duluth's Medical School to highlight the proposed Chemistry and Advanced Materials Science Building. UMD Chancellor Lendley Black, regional campus dean of the medical school Paula Termuhlen, and area legislators participated in the discussion. Governor Dayton fully funded the project in his bonding bill proposal.
Women's hockey team visits Senate
Hannah Brandt, Kelly Pannek, Milica McMillen and coach Brad Frost represented the Gopher women's hockey team as they were recognized and congratulated by the State Senate for their seventh national championship win.
Fetal tissue research legislation
Two bills related to the University's use of fetal tissue in research were heard in committees this week. The first bill requires the legislative auditor to conduct an audit on the University's use of fetal tissue in research. The second bill cuts the U of M's FY17 appropriation by $14 million and requires $1 million of the appropriation to be redirected to the construction of a fetal tissue research center. If the center is constructed and becomes operational, the $14 million appropriation would be provided again in FY18.
Grow Your Own Teacher legislation
The House Education Policy and Education Finance committee heard the Grow Your Own teacher residency pilot program bill. The bill establishes a non-conventional teacher residency pilot program to provide tuition scholarships to help non-licensed, bachelor's degree holding people seek an elementary education license to participate in a board of teaching-approved non-conventional teacher residency pilot program. Deborah Dillion, professor and associate dean for graduate and professional programs in CEHD testified in strong support of this bill.
VP Wheelock and Dan Hartman testify on Glensheen
The House Capital Investment Committee heard a presentation on March 22nd in support of state bonds for the renovation of the Glensheen Mansion, this historic Congdon estate in Duluth. Glensheen Director Dan Hartman testified, along with University Vice President Pam Wheelock. Hartman shared with the committee memorabilia from the Mansion, including rare documents from the Congdon family recently discovered on site. Legislation has been introduced this session in the House and Senate to appropriate $26 million for repairs and renovations at Glensheen. No action was taken on the bill during the hearing.
REAL ID legislation becomes law
After garnering nearly unanimous support in both the House and Senate, Governor Dayton signed into law a bill on Thursday that will allow the Department of Public Safety (DPS) to begin studying how to bring the state's drivers' licenses into compliance with the federal Real ID requirements. Since 2009, the law prohibited DPS from addressing the federal mandate due to concerns over individuals' privacy. However, an announcement from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that federal buildings, including airports, would no longer accept Minnesota licenses starting in 2018 caused the Minnesota Legislature to reconsider. The DPS now has until April 14 to report on how it will implement the Real ID law.
Kaler presents requests to higher ed committees
On Tuesday, March 23, and Wednesday, March 24, President Eric Kaler, Vice President of University Services Pamela Wheelock, and Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Richard Pfutzenreuter presented the University of Minnesota's 2016 Capital Request and FY17 Supplemental Budget Request to the Senate Higher Education and Workforce Development Committee and the House Higher Education Policy and Finance Committee.
Nick Wilson, executive director of the Minnesota Student Legislative Coalition, and Linda Bearinger, faculty legislative liaison, provided testimony in support of the request. In the Senate, bill authors for the various projects testified in support of the University's request.
College Completion Report
On Thursday, March 25, Vice Provost and Dean of Undergraduate Education Robert McMaster presented the University's 2016 College Completion Report to the Senate Higher Education and Workforce Development Committee. The report, which was mandated by the legislature in 2015, highlights ways the University is facilitating timely graduation, improving interdisciplinary course offerings, and expanding advising resources.
Duluth and St. Louis County Days at the Capitol
On Wednesday, March 23, and Thursday, March 24, the Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce hosted the Duluth and St. Louis County Days at the Capitol, attracting over 500 people from Northeastern Minnesota. Leaders and students from UMD showcased the campus at a reception on Wednesday night and educated legislators and other attendees about the Chemistry and Advanced Materials Science Building capital request project. The following morning, UMD leaders and students had the opportunity to visit more with legislators at a breakfast for elected officials.
Representative Dave Hancock (R - Bemidji) has recently announced that he will not seek re-election in 2016. View the complete list of legislators who will not be seeking re-election.
Real ID passes Senate
On Monday, March 21, the Senate passed legislation to repeal the ban on implementing the federal Real ID law. has been placed on the House calendar for Tuesday, March 29.
Kaler presents 2016 legislative priorities at Capitol
On Monday, March 14, President Kaler outlined the University of Minnesota's 2016 legislative priorities for members of the media. "All of the projects on our list are critical to producing a prepared Minnesota workforce for the 21st century and to providing our faculty with facilities to teach and conduct groundbreaking research," said Kaler. Read the press release and coverage by KSTP and MPR.
Governor releases supplemental budget recommendations
On Tuesday, March 15, Governor Mark Dayton released his FY17 supplemental budget recommendations. The proposed budget includes full funding for three projects in the University's supplemental budget request: $19 million for Cyber Security, $10.5 million for Health Training Restoration, and $5.75 million for Healthy Minnesota. View a financial comparison of the proposal.
In a press release, President Kaler thanked Governor Dayton for recognizing the importance of these initiatives. The University is also requesting $3.6 million for Mining Innovation Minnesota.
The House and Senate committees are hearing supplemental budget requests and will make recommendations in the coming weeks.
University leaders provide updates to House Higher Ed
On Tuesday, March 15, President Kaler and other University leaders appeared before the House Higher Education Committee to provide updates. Topics included the human research participant protection program, athletics, campus safety, administrative costs, tuition, and fetal tissue research.
Senate Higher Ed receives update on Gopher athletics
On Thursday, March 17, President Kaler, Interim Athletic Director Beth Goetz, and Associate Vice President of Internal Audits Gail Klatt presented updates to the Senate Higher Education and Workforce Development Committee on the athletic department's finances and the results of the 2015 audit of the department. Additionally, Karen Schoenfeld from Fredrikson and Byron presented the results of the external review that the firm conducted regarding sexual harassment and the athletics department.
Real ID legislation
A bill to repeal the ban on implementing the federal Real ID law is quickly making its way through both chambers of the Minnesota Legislature. The bill is a high priority this year after worries mounted last December over the possibility the federal government would not accept Minnesota drivers' licenses as a valid form of identification in federal facilities, including airports.
2016 legislative session convenes
Tuesday, March 8, marked the first day of the 2016 Minnesota legislative session. The Capitol renovations have created new logistical challenges; the Senate floor sessions are being held temporarily in the new Minnesota Senate Building. The construction also is part of the reason for the shorter legislative session. The Republican-led House and DFL-led Senate have only 10 weeks to tackle their legislative priorities.
The legislature will focus on crafting a bonding bill, as well deciding how to allocate the $900 million budget surplus.
State of the State address
On Wednesday, March 9, Governor Dayton delivered his State of the State address at McNamara Alumni Center on the University of Minnesota's Twin Cities campus, due to the Capitol renovation. In his remarks, he discussed his vision for the state's future and emphasized his interest in passing both a bonding bill and a supplemental budget bill this legislative session.
The governor's address included support for investments in the University, particularly capital investment. "Many buildings on the University of Minnesota and MnSCU campuses are badly in need of basic repairs," he said. "They cannot be expected to attract and retain first-rate students with second- or third-rate facilities. They also need to build new facilities in which to provide the world-class educations their students will need to be successful in this global economy." View the governor's bonding recommendations for the University.
Before the governor's address, the University of Minnesota Alumni Association hosted a reception for members of the Minnesota Legislature and their guests. Over 300 people attended and had the opportunity to take photos with Goldy Gopher.
Senate Higher Ed receives update on human research participant standards
On Thursday, March 10, President Kaler, Vice President for Research Brian Herman, and Dean of the Medical School and Vice President for Health Sciences Brooks Jackson provided the Senate Higher Education and Workforce Development Committee with an update on the progress of the University of Minnesota's human research participant protection program. President Kaler reemphasized the University's commitment to meeting, upholding, and exceeding the highest ethical standards in research practices involving human participants. The committee was provided with the following materials:
The House and Senate introduced 580 and 358 bills respectively in this first week of the legislative session. The first legislative deadline requires a bill to be heard in either the House or Senate by April 1, 2016, in order to continue on in the legislative process.
The Office of Government and Community Relations tracks all legislation that may impact the University and notifies internal stakeholders who may be affected.
President Kaler and VP Wheelock present capital request to House Capital Investment
Yesterday, March 3, President Kaler and Vice President of University Services Pamela Wheelock outlined the University's six proposed capital request projects in the House Capital Investment Committee. View the presentation. President Kaler emphasized the value of state investment in University facilities across Minnesota. After the hearing, he thanked committee members in a statement.
The committee heard bonding proposal presentations from other state agencies as well. The legislative session convenes on Tuesday, March 8.
Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center Ribbon Cutting
On Wednesday, March 2, the University celebrated the renovation of the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center (MAISRC) on the St. Paul campus. Attendees included: CFANS Dean Brian Buhr, MAISRC Director Susan Galatowitsch, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Tom Landwehr, Representative Cindy Pugh, Representative Alice Hausman, and Representative Rick Hansen, along with University researchers and students.
The newly renovated 10,000 square-foot state-of-the-art lab received funding from the 2014 Minnesota Legislature, the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund, the Clean Water Fund, and the University of Minnesota. The MAISRC's research focuses on zebra mussels and other invertebrates, harmful fish pathogens, invasive plants such as curly-leaf pondweed and Eurasian watermilfoil, and invasive fish including Asian carps.
State's projected budget surplus shrinks
This morning, Minnesota Management and Budget (MMB) released its February budget forecast, projecting $900 million for the FY 2016-17 biennium, a reduction from the $1.2 billion forecasted last December. The MMB press release describes the budget outlook as stable, but with slower growth for the state. Read the forecast documents.
Legislative Kickoff Breakfast
On Wednesday, February 24, over 300 University of Minnesota students, faculty, alumni, staff, and supporters attended the Legislative Kickoff Breakfast at McNamara Alumni Center. The purpose of the event was to show how simply sharing your U of M story with legislators can have a dramatic impact on the legislative process.
After breakfast and some mingling, attendees heard President Kaler's story about his days as a graduate student. Then, Minnesota Student Association president Joelle Stangler talked about how the academic rigor at the University is preparing her to face a world of new challenges. Medical School associate dean Dimple Patel told her story about the importance of having top-notch facilities to attract the doctors of the future. Alumni Association board member Sandy Weise talked about the important role of the University in the state's economy.
Attendees wrote postcards to their elected officials, signed up for the Legislative Action Network, and shared their stories on social media. The event's hashtags, #umnproud and #Driven4MN, were trending on Twitter!
On February 9, Chad Anderson (R-Bloomington) and Jim Abeler (R-Anoka) won special elections to the Minnesota Legislature. Anderson was elected to the House representing District 50B, vacated by Ann Lenczewski in 2015. Abeler, a former state representative, was elected to the Senate representing District 35, vacated by Branden Petersen in 2015. Anderson and Abeler were both sworn into office this month.
The following members of the Minnesota Legislature have recently announced that they will not seek re-election in 2016:
They join 10 additional legislators who have announced they will not seek re-election in 2016. A complete list of retirees can be found on the Minnesota Legislative Reference Library's website.
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.