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.
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Introduced in March 2017 by Rep. Mary Kunesh-Podein (DFL-New Brighton) and Sen. Carolyn Laine (DFL-Columbia Heights), HF2470/SF2259, aims to stop the cycle of opioid misuse and addiction through education.
The conference committee tasked with hammering out the differences that divide the House and Senate on a laundry list of major issues met for the first time Tuesday afternoon.
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