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It's an election year –– the Minnesota primary is August 14. There's a Supreme Court opening. The Farm Bill is awaiting action. The Higher Education Act is on hold. And the Senate, but not the House, will be back in session in August.
During the 2018 legislative session, the House introduced 1,819 bills and the Senate 1,672 bills. Over 8,600 bills in total were introduced in the biennium. In the end, this year, 115 bills were passed by the legislature, and the governor signed 100 into law. In total, 23 new laws are relevant to the University.
Today, Governor Dayton signed the 2018 capital investment bill into law. This new law includes $79.4 million for the University of Minnesota.
At a few minutes before midnight last night, the Minnesota Legislature adjourned sine die, bringing to a close the 90th legislative session. Many outstanding issues went down to the wire.
Absent a special session, the state legislature will conclude its business when the clock strikes midnight on Sunday. With a little more than 48 hours to go, the path to resolution remains unclear.
The Minnesota State Legislature is scheduled to adjourn on May 21, meaning only 10 more days of session remain. While many issues have come into focus, others are far from resolution, including major topics such as a supplemental budget agreement, a capital investment agreement, and a tax bill to conform Minnesota state law with the recently enacted federal tax bill.
Today marks the final committee deadline at the state legislature, meaning all policy and finance bills must have received an affirmative vote in committee or are no longer viable.
Yesterday, the House Republican majority released its budget "targets" for the 2018 session. The targets guide spending decisions by the legislature. The Senate Republican majority has not yet introduced its own budget targets reflecting its priorities. Minnesota Management and Budget projected a $329 million surplus for the state.
This week, the University of Minnesota presented its supplemental budget request before the House and Senate higher education committees. The request is $10 million recurring in the base budget to allow the University to hold tuition flat for in-state undergraduates on all system campuses in the 2018-19 academic year. President Eric Kaler, Vice President for Finance and Operations Brian Burnett, and several undergraduate students testified in this week's hearings. We now await the legislature's budget "targets" to determine if there will be any additional resources available for higher education and other budget areas.
Late last week, Congress completed work on an omnibus appropriations bill to finalize funding for federal FY18 and avoid another government shutdown.