Economic budget forecast released
On Friday, December 2, Minnesota Management and Budget released the state budget forecast, a $1.4 billion budget surplus for the 2018-19 biennium. A surplus of $678 million is also forecasted in the current 2016-17 biennium, after the statutory allocation of $334 million to the budget reserve. This allocation will bring the total reserve balance to $1.9 billion. Federal policy uncertainty, inflation, and slow growth expansion could decrease the projected surplus. Legislative leaders characterized this as a "status quo" forecast.
This forecast will guide spending decisions in the 2017 legislative session. However, the February forecast may revise these numbers, and will be the final marker for budget decisions in the spring.
The University of Minnesota is requesting $147.2 million in the FY 2018-19 biennial budget, and $245.1 million for seven capital projects.
Special session discussions continue
Also on Friday, December 2, legislative leaders and the governor resumed discussions for a special legislative session before the end of the year. The special session would likely address health care costs, a tax bill pocket vetoed by the governor in late spring, and a bonding bill also considered last session but not passed by both bodies. Legislative leaders and the governor are targeting December 20 for the special session. However, only the framework has been discussed; the details have yet to be agreed upon.
State relations gears up social media for session
Over the last few weeks, @UMNGovRelations has congratulated new legislators via Twitter, providing them with infographics about the University of Minnesota's impact in their districts. Many new legislators have responded positively to the targeted messaging, which is part of a larger social media outreach strategy with state legislators.
In addition, Government Relations launched a new Twitter handle to facilitate and expand the University's advocacy efforts. The new handle, @UMNAdvocates will support state, federal, and community relations efforts through expanded social media interactions, advocacy, conversation, and outreach. Please take a moment to follow @UMNAdvocates, and like and retweet our messages throughout the legislative session.
Republicans win Minnesota Senate, expand Minnesota House majority
On Tuesday, November 8, Republicans won control of the Minnesota Legislature. In the House, Republicans retained a majority 76-57, increasing their caucus by 4 seats. One remaining seat will be determined in a special election in February. In the Senate, Republicans won 34-33, although three recounts have been called. Representative Daudt is expected to be re-elected as House Speaker. This afternoon, Senator Paul Gazelka was elected majority leader.
Below is a list of 45 new legislators and the incumbents they defeated:
House District 2A - Matthew Grossell, R (open seat)
House District 5A - Matt Bliss, R (defeated Persell)
House District 5B - Sandy Layman, R (defeated Anzelc)
House District 6A - Julie Sandstone, DFL (open seat)
House District 7B - Liz Olson, DFL (open seat)
House District 9A - John Poston, R (open seat)
House District 21A - Barb Haley, R (open seat)
House District 25B - Duane Sauke, DFL (open seat)
House District 31B - Calvin Bahr, R (open seat)
House District 37A - Erin Kegel, DFL (open seat)
House District 37B - Nolan West, R (open seat)
House District 41B - Mary Kunesh-Podein, DFL (open seat)
House District 42A - Randy Jessup, R (defeated Yarusso)
House District 42B - Jamie Becker-Finn, DFL (open seat)
House District 48A - Laurie Pryor, DFL (open seat)
House District 49A - Dario Anselmo, R (defeated Erhardt)
House District 50B - Andrew Carlson, DFL (defeated C. Anderson)
House District 52B - Regina Barr, R (open seat)
House District 54A - Keith Franke, R (open seat)
House District 54B - Tony Jurgens, R (open seat)
House District 57A - Erin Maye Quade, DFL (open seat)
House District 59A - Fue Lee, DFL (open seat)
House District 60B - Ilhan Omar, DFL (open seat)
Senate District 1 - Mark Johnson, R (open seat)
Senate District 2 - Paul Utke, R (defeated Skoe)
Senate District 5 - Justin Eichorn,R (defeated Saxhaug)
Senate District 7 - Erik Simonsson, DFL (open seat)*
Senate District 14 - Jerry Relph, R (open seat)**
Senate District 15 - Andrew Mathews, R (open seat)
Senate District 17 - Andrew Lang, R (defeated Koenen)
Senate District 19 - Nick Frentz, DFL (open seat)
Senate District 20 - Rich Draheim, R (defeated Dahle)
Senate District 21 - Mike Goggin, R (defeated Schmit)
Senate District 24 - John Jasinski, R (defeated Jensen)
Senate District 32 - Mark Koran, R (open seat)
Senate District 37 - Jerry Newton, DFL (open seat)*
Senate District 41 - Carolyn Laine, DFL (open seat)*
Senate District 42 - Jason Isaacson, DFL (open seat)*
Senate District 44 - Paul Anderson, R (open seat)**
Senate District 47 - Scott Jensen, R (open seat)
Senate District 48 - Steve Cwodzinski, DFL (defeated Hann)
Senate District 52 - Matt Klein, DFL (open seat)
Senate District 54 - Dan Schoen, DFL (open seat)*
Senate District 58 - Matt Little, DFL (open seat)**
*former state representative
The state relations team plans to meet with the new legislators in the upcoming months to discuss the University's mission, legislative priorities, and ongoing partnership with the state. The 2017 legislative session begins on Tuesday, January 3.
President Kaler meets with House leaders
This month, University of Minnesota Eric President Kaler met with House Speaker Kurt Daudt and House Minority Leader Paul Thissen. At both meetings, President Kaler discussed the U of M's legislative priorities, as well as the need for a special legislative session to pass a bonding bill.
Legislative staff visits Rochester campus
On Thursday, September 15, Minnesota House and Senate staff traveled to Rochester to learn more about the University of Minnesota Rochester. Chancellor Lehmkuhle provided a tour and overview of the campus. Then students from the Health CORE Program joined the legislative staff for lunch. The students talked about why they choose to study health sciences at UMR. After lunch, staff learned about the partnerships between the U of M and Mayo Clinic in the areas of genomics and regenerative medicine.
Legislative advocacy at the State Fair
The Office of Government and Community Relations maintained a significant presence at the State Fair again this year, promoting the importance of joining the University of Minnesota's legislative advocacy program. Approximately 1,000 fair attendees signed up to become advocates of the Legislative Action Network. Register to become an advocate.
2016 Voting Guide
The University of Minnesota is committed to ensuring that faculty, staff, and students have timely, accurate information about voting. To that end, the Office of Government and Community Relations is coordinating University voter education communications and outreach. For more information about the U of M's efforts to encourage students, faculty, and staff to vote, please take a look at our Voting Guide.
No special session
After several months of negotiations between Governor Mark Dayton, Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, and House Speaker Kurt Daudt, Governor Dayton has decided he will not call the legislature back for a special session. The leaders could not come to an agreement on a bonding bill, transportation bill, and tax bill.
Kaler visits with legislators at county fairs
Over the past week, President Kaler and state relations staff traveled to the Dakota, Steele, and McLeod county fairs. At the Dakota County Fair, President Kaler spoke with Representative Pat Garofalo, Senator Jim Carlson, and Senator Greg Clausen about the University's statewide presence. He also addressed attendees at the fair's 4-H 100 year celebration dinner. At the Steele County Fair, President Kaler spoke with Representative Jeanne Poppe, Representative Brian Daniels, Senator Dan Sparks, and Senator Vicki Jensen. At the McLeod County Fair, President Kaler met with Representative Glenn Gruenhagen and Representative Dean Urdahl.
Incumbents defeated in primary elections
Tuesday, August 11 was Primary Election Day in Minnesota. Several state legislators faced challengers and four lost their primary re-elections:
These results increase the number of open seats to be voted on in November - 18 in the House and 14 in the Senate.
Kaler visits with agriculture leaders, legislators, and students at Farmfest
This week, President Kaler and state relations staff traveled to Morgan, Minnesota, for Farmfest, an annual event devoted to Minnesota agriculture and innovation. President Kaler spoke with University students, local legislators, agricultural leaders, and regional media about the U's commitment to Greater Minnesota, agriculture, and innovation. The president also announced the University's new investment in the Agricultural Research, Education, Extension and Technology Transfer Program (AGREETT).
CFANS faculty present to Legislative Water Commission
Today, Thursday, July 7, the Legislative Water Commission, which consists of 12 legislators, met at the University of Minnesota's Twin Cities campus to learn about six research projects in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resource Sciences. Afterwards, a panel discussed new strategies for farmers and opportunities for state investment in water and agriculture. The commission also toured the University's Forever Green research fields.
On March 8, 2016, the Minnesota Legislature convened for a historically short legislative session. In part due to the State Capitol renovations, the Republican-led House and DFL-led Senate had only 10 weeks to tackle their priorities. In even-numbered years of the biennium, the legislature typically focuses on crafting a bonding bill. This year, the legislature also considered whether to spend a projected state budget surplus of $900 million.
The legislature and Governor Dayton were unable to reach a compromise on a bonding bill before the constitutionally mandated end of session on May 23. However, lawmakers passed a $182 million supplemental budget bill that the governor signed into law. Legislative leadership and the governor continue to meet to discuss a potential special session.
This session, Minnesota legislators introduced 3,068 bills and passed 109 of these bills onto the governor. The governor signed all but two of these bills into law. The University of Minnesota's Office of Government and Community Relations tracked over 500 bills relevant to the University. This marks the end of the legislative biennium; all bills that did not pass are no longer active. The 2017 regular legislative session is set to begin on January 3, 2017; although, the governor can call a special session at any time.
Read the 2016 State Relations Session Summary
Special session remains uncertain
On Tuesday, June 14, the conference committee on H.F. 622, the bonding bill passed by the House in the final hours of session, met to review the bill and hear testimony from state agencies and the University of Minnesota. President Kaler thanked the committee for the University funding provided in H.F. 622: $50 million for HEAPR, $27.2 million for the Chemistry and Advanced Materials Science Building, and $4.4 million for the Plant Growth Research Facility. He also testified in support of the Health Sciences Education Facility project, saying, "A new Health Sciences Education Facility presents Minnesota with an extraordinary opportunity to educate our students for new models of health care focused on access and affordability, teamwork and quality." View a comparison of the 2016 regular legislative session bonding bill proposals.
A special session and bonding bill remain uncertain, as the Governor and legislative leaders have yet to find a compromise on a number of issues.
Governor Dayton visits Duluth campus to promote bonding bill
This morning, Governor Dayton held a press conference at the University of Minnesota's Duluth campus to urge legislators to agree on a special session agenda that includes a bonding bill. He emphasized the need for capital investment in higher education, highlighting the Chemistry and Advanced Materials Science (CAMS) building project. The shovel-ready CAMS project is seeking $27 million in legislative funding and will positively impact student enrollment, STEM programs, and local economic needs.
Today's press conference is part of a series of media events that the governor has held across Minnesota this week relating to the end of the legislative session. At this time, no agreements for a special session have been made.
Governor Dayton announces stipulations for possible special session
This afternoon, at a press conference, Governor Dayton presented a letter addressed to legislative leadership. The letter contains a list of requirements that the legislature must agree to in order for him to call a special session. The list includes $66.7 million in bonding for the University of Minnesota's requested Health Sciences Education Facility, as well as $10.5 million in FY17 and $21 million in FY18-19 in supplemental budget funding for the University's Health Training Restoration initiative.
As you may recall, the legislature did not pass a bonding bill this year, and a special session is required to fund any bonding projects.
Governor Dayton signs supplemental budget bill
Also today, Governor Dayton signed the supplemental budget bill, which includes $2.6 million for the University's Mining Innovation Minnesota initiative and $800,000 ongoing for the Health Training Restoration initiative.
The bill also contains policy and funding for the following University programs:
View a final comparison of the 2016 regular legislative session supplemental budget proposals.
Mining Innovation Minnesota funding in LCCMR bill line-item vetoed
On Tuesday, May 31, Governor Dayton line-item vetoed seven projects in the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR) bill, including $1.1 million for the University's Mining Innovation Minnesota initiative. In his letter to the legislature, the governor stated he did not oppose these seven projects, but that he vetoed them because they did not go through the LCCMR annual approval process.