2019 Session closes, special session looms

The following information was shared with the library community via the MLA and ITEM Legislative Update Newsletter Tuesday, May 21, 2019 by Sam Walseth, Capitol Hill Associates, in his role as the MLA-ITEM lobbyist.

The 2019 session adjourned at midnight on Monday the 20th, per the constitution, but with only one of about 10 budget bills actually being passed by both bodies. The Higher Education bill, which includes $5.095 million/year for MNLINK, was the one bill completed on time.
It appears that leadership in the House and Senate, along with Gov. Tim Walz, have reached a E-12 agreement that includes a total funding target of $543 million in the next fiscal year and $720 million in FY 22-23. The key components of the E-12 agreement appear to be:

  • Student Formula: 2% on the General Education Formula each of the next two years.
  • Special Education: $91 million in the next year and $142 million for FY 22-23 to freeze the cross-subsidy
  • Voluntary PreK: $47 million to maintain the 4,000 seats in FY 20-21 and $2.5 million for 10% prior year payment in FY 22-23
  • Safe Schools: $30 million in one-time funding for safe schools grants appropriation, contingent upon closing balance for FY 19 exceeding February forecast estimated closing balance

We are awaiting further details as we don’t have the actual bill language at this time. We may see the bill details at 3pm Wednesday. The plan is for the Governor to call a Special Session on Thursday to begin processing the agreed-to budget bills.
RLBSS & RLTA – Omnibus Education Bills
While we don’t have full details on the E-12 bill, it doesn’t appear that any new funding for library programs, including RLBSS, will be included. The same goes for any new revenue for Telecom Equity Aid for schools.
Library Legacy – Omnibus Legacy Bills
We will hopefully see the final Legacy bill at a meeting they’ve announced for 2pm tomorrow.
Net Neutrality – Omnibus House Jobs bill
We don’t have details on the omnibus Jobs bill. It’s highly unlikely that net neutrality provisions will be included in the final Jobs bill.
Bonding bill
The leadership agreement on the budget calls for $440 million in general obligation (GO) bonds. However, passage of this in a special session is a 50/50 proposition since the House minority, which would be needed to put up enough votes to pass GO bonds, wasn’t a part of the leadership budget deal.
Hennepin County Library Director Statutory Change – HF 2097 & SF 2267
HF 2097 was debated on the House floor on May 13 and passed by a vote of 81-41. The bill was amended with this language added, “Preference shall be given to candidates with library 
The Senate accepted the House amendment and passed the bill 57-9 on May 19. The bill awaits action by Governor Walz.
School Media Specialist Support – HF 247 & SF 2010
HF 247 & SF 2010 did not pass this session, but are viable for the 2020 session.
2020 Legislative Session begins on Tuesday, February 11, 2020 at noon