Driving Change in Higher Education.

Policy Update-April 23, 2012

Minnesota Legislatures passes Higher Education Omnibus Bills
The House of Representatives and Senate have passed their Higher Education Omnibus bills. The creation of a Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) taskforce to investigate ways to decrease the cost of textbooks and expand the use of electronic course information is addressed in both bills. Additionally, the authority of MnSCU to issue revenue bonds increased from $300 million to $405 million and a provision requiring colleges to provide 30 days notice on course materials before the first day of classes are found in the House and Senate bills. The Senate version includes language that would allow MnSCU colleges to continue operations in the event of a government shutdown.

Senate awaiting vote on Bonding Bill, House Capitol Bonding fails                    
The House voted on one of its two bonding bills last week. The bonding bill that would allow for a $221 million renovation of the Minnesota Capitol failed by one vote. The other bonding bill, which contains the MnSCU projects, has yet to be voted on by the floor. After the House and Senate vote on their bonding bills, the differences in the legislation will be reconciled by the Capital Investment Conference Committee. Conference committee members have yet to be named for either the Higher Education or Capital Investment Committees. 

MnSCU Board of Trustees passed Capital Investment Guidelines
At the Board of Trustees meeting on April 18, the Capital Investment Guidelines were approved following its second reading. This outlines the requirements for the building and renovation of academic and administrative facilities that are funded from general obligation bonds. The new guidelines ensure that all capital investment projects reflect Chancellor Rosenstone’s strategic framework and make efficient use of MnSCU resources.

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