The following information was sent via e-mail on February 21, 2012, from Elaine Keefe, MLA/MEMO Lobbyist. Additional linked information included.
This afternoon the special panel appointed by the Minnesota Supreme Court released the new legislative district boundaries. 30 members of the House and 16 members of the Senate are paired with another incumbent in their new districts.
Today the House Education Finance Committee heard two bills of interest to MLA and MEMO. The first was HF 2127, the online learning bill heard previously in the House Education Reform Committee. Today the author, Rep. Pam Myhra (R - Burnsville) offered an amendment to remove the provisions of the bill directing the Online Learning Advisory Council to develop a catalog of digital learning content aligned with the academic content standards. This was removed because of the cost associated with it. The bill still requires all students to receive at least one digital course credit in order to graduate. The requirement is effective for students entering 9th grade this fall.
The other bill would remove school trust lands from the management of the Dept. of Natural Resources and instead place them under the management of staff to be hired by a new Legislative-Citizen Permanent School Fund Commission. Many legislators and school advocates believe that the DNR's management of these lands has failed to yield a reasonable amount of income for schools. The bill passed on a divided vote and was sent to the Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Policy and Finance Committee.
I wanted to make everyone aware of a learning opportunity from the ALA Washington Office on February 27, 2012 from 3:00-4:00 PM. The webinar’s description is:
The Legislative Process and You: How it Works and How to Make a Difference
Anyone who remembers Schoolhouse Rock’s “How a Bill Becomes a Law” knows that the process is long, arduous and frustrating. That’s the bad news. The good news is that library advocates have opportunities to make a difference at every step of the way. In this webinar Stephanie Vance will give you the insider secrets on using the legislative process to your advantage. She’ll show you how to be engaged at every point — from introduction and referral to conference committee — as well as the key things you should know about any legislative arena before diving in. Participants will come away from the session with a checklist and work plan to implement these ideas right away – and make a positive difference for libraries!
For more information, including registration information, check out this blog post on ALA Washington Office's District Dispatch.
Labels: advocacy, libraryconstruction, governordayton, schoolmediacenters, broadband, payequity, onlinelearning
The following information was sent via e-mail on February 15, 2012, from Elaine Keefe, MLA/MEMO Lobbyist. Additional linked information included.
The Legislature has been in session for three weeks, and bills are starting to move through the committee process. The first committee deadline is March 16, 2012 -- one month from tomorrow.
Tonight (February 15, 2012) Governor Dayton will deliver his State of the State address before a joint session of the Legislature beginning at about 7pm. You can watch it live on the Legislature's website.
We had a hearing this morning (February 15, 2012) in the Senate Capital Investment Committee. I testified along with Bob Boese, MLA legislative chair. The only questions we received were about co-location of school and public libraries. Our bill, SF 1867, is authored by Senator John Carlson (R - Bemidji). Co-authors are Senator David Tomassoni (DFL - Chisholm), Senator Dave Senjem (R - Rochester), Senator Keith Langseth (DFL - Glyndon) and Senator Jeremy Miller (R - Winona). All are members of the Senate Capital Investment Committee.
HF 2036 and HF 2075, the two bills I mentioned in my Feb 7, 2012 report that dedicate proceeds from the permanent school trust fund to technology and library media resources, were both heard in the House Education Finance Committee yesterday (February 14, 2012). Patrick Plant, technology director for the Anoka-Hennepin School District, testified in favor of the bills on behalf of both MEMO and his school district. The bills were laid over for possible inclusion in an omnibus bill.
HF 2127, a bill aimed at expanding online learning, was heard yesterday in the House Education Reform Committee. A new version of the bill was offered by the author, Rep. Pam Myrha (R - Burnsville). The main point of contention was the proposed removal of the current requirement that an online course be taught by a teacher licensed in Minnesota. After a lively committee discussion, Rep. Myrha agreed to remove that provision from the bill. Happily, unlike when the Senate companion bill was heard, there was no attempt to raid Regional Library Telecommunications Aid (RLTA) funds in order to pay for the development of a catalog of online courses. The bill passed and was re-referred to the House Education Finance Committee.
Yesterday (February 14, 2012) the Senate Energy, Utilities and Telecommunications Committee heard a presentation from the Governor's Broadband Task Force, which was appointed in November 2011 and issued an initial report in December 2011. You can view the report and a schedule of upcoming meetings here.
The task force is chaired by former Speaker of the House Margaret Anderson Kelliher, who is now president of the Minnesota Hi-Tech Association. In testimony Kelliher said that the task force will be working this year to put together detailed recommendations for the 2013 Legislature on actions it can take to achieve the goals that were set forth in legislation passed in 2010, which include making Minnesota one of the top 5 states for broadband access by 2015. Minnesota currently ranks 24th. The task force will be looking at best practices throughout the country, including financial incentives to make broadband more widely available.
This morning (February 15, 2012) the House State Government Finance Committee heard HF 2033, a bill authored by Rep. Keith Downey (R - Edina) requiring that a study be conducted comparing total compensation of state employees to compensation for similar positions in the private sector and requiring that compensation for state employees be adjusted based on the study results. The bill was supported by the Taxpayers' Association and opposed by AFSCME, the Pay Equity Coalition (of which MLA is a member) and Minnesota Management and Budget, the department charged with conducting the study. The bill was amended so that the compensation plan based on the study would not automatically go into effect, but instead would be brought to the Legislature for approval. It passed on a party line vote and was referred to the House Ways and Means Committee, which will need to find a way to cover the $3 million cost of the study before the bill can advance to the floor.
President Obama released his 2013 budget request on February 13, 2012, and has included $184.7 million for for the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA), which is administered by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). This amount is equal to the funding amount in the current year's budget. ALA's District Dispatch has posted a statement by current ALA President Molly Raphael about the President's budget request regarding LSTA here. LSTA supports physical and electronic delivery in Minnesota and several other programs in the state. These funds have also provided opportunities for libraries around the state to undertake new or innovative projects. SELCO has been successful over the years with obtaining LSTA grant funding to assist libraries in automating with the SELCO ILS.
Labels: advocacy, libraryconstruction, schoolmediacenters, libraries
The following information was sent via e-mail on February 7, 2012, from Elaine Keefe, MLA/MEMO Lobbyist. Additional linked information included.
Tomorrow (February 8, 2012) the Legislature returns from a 4 day break for precinct caucuses, which were held this evening. The next break in the legislative schedule will be for Passover and Easter in early April.
Our bill, HF 1851, will be heard on Wednesday at 12:30pm in the House Education Finance Committee. It is one of six bills on the agenda, so we will have a limited amount of time to make our case. I plan to testify along with Nate Mathews, City Administrator for the City of Staples, which received a grant in 2008. Our author, Rep. Carol McFarlane (R - White Bear Lake), liked the idea of having a testifier who would represent a success story.
Over the last several years Rep. Denise Dittrich (DFL - Champlin) has repeatedly introduced legislation to dedicate the proceeds of the permanent school fund for school technology and library media resources. Last week Rep. Dittrich introduced the same bill again. It is HF 2075. Interestingly, on the same day Rep. Pat Garofalo (R - Farmington), chair of the House Education Finance Committee, introduced a similar bill, HF 2036. It dedicates any new revenue in excess of $28 per pupil to school technology and library media resources. It's great to see the committee chair introducing a bill like this.
Representative Tina Liebling spoke at the January 17, 2012 Board Meeting about advocacy and she offered insight on what you need to know to effectively educate your elected officials on issues that are important to you. She also participated in a role playing of a visit to a legislator with members of the Board. Both portions of the board meeting were taped and here are their SELCOtv episodes.