The House re-passed the $3.2 billion omnibus higher education finance bill 75-54 Monday, with supporters saying it would increase funding to institutions and curb tuition costs.
Sponsored by Rep. Bud Nornes (R-Fergus Falls) and Senate President Michelle Fischbach (R-Paynesville), HF2477/ SF2214* was re-passed the Senate 34-30 earlier in the day. The bill now moves Gov. Mark Dayton’s desk and he has vowed to veto the bill.
The bill is a $125 million increase from the current two-year total. A policy provision in the bill would require Minnesota State to freeze tuition at all state colleges during the 2017-18 academic year and reduce tuition by 1 percent in 2018-19.
Rep. Gene Pelowski Jr. (DFL-Winona) said the bill is “broken” and “will break the backs of student with record debt if [it] becomes law.”
Pelowski said that tuition freezes called for in the bill are not properly funded and will cause shortfalls in other areas. He also stressed the bill would lead to cuts in teaching and nursing programs as well as other programs at two and four-year institutions.
The Minnesota Supreme Court has ordered the Legislature and Gov. Mark Dayton to use mediation to resolve a funding dispute. In an opinion issued Friday, the court also ruled that Dayton’s use of the line-item veto to strip biennial funding for the Legislature was constitutional.
A Ramsey County judge on Wednesday ruled that Gov. Mark Dayton’s line-item veto of legislative funding violated the state’s constitution.
House and Senate leadership OK a resolution to seek outside legal representation in an effort to restore funding for the Legislature that Gov. Mark Dayton line-item vetoed earlier this week.
Day three of the 2017 special session saw lawmakers pass final omnibus bills to be sent to Gov. Mark Dayton, with weary House members wrapping up their work at 2:42 a.m. Friday following a week of long days — and nights — at the State Capitol.
Lawmakers on conference committees must sort through competing bills before finalizing a product to send to the governor.
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It was a day of selfies, swearings-in and standing ovations as the House opened the 2017-18 biennial session Tuesday.