Session Closure

The following information was shared via email with the library community Tuesday, June 6, 2017 by Sam Walseth, Capitol Hill Associates, in his role as the MLA-ITEM lobbyist.

While the Governor’s line-item veto of the legislature’s operating budget
means the people’s business isn’t quite finished, it is for our practical
purposes.

The final Bonding bill, signed into law, appropriates $2 million for library
construction and renovation projects.

The final Legacy bill, signed into law, appropriates $2.5 million for
library legacy programming for the next two years.

The final E-12 bill, signed into law, doesn’t appropriate new funding for
regional library programs.

If the courts decide against the legislature’s forthcoming lawsuit over the
line-item veto, it’s the Governor’s desire to revisit several items in the
Tax bill. Those items are related to commercial-industrial property taxes
paid to the state, tobacco taxes and changes to the estate tax. He’s also
indicated a desire to revisit the teacher licensure reform package passed in
the E-12 bill.

The 2018 session begins at noon on Tuesday, February 20th.

Samuel P. Walseth, Capitol Hill Associates

Special Session adjourns Sine Die

The following information was shared via email with the library community Friday, May 23, 2017 by Sam Walseth, Capitol Hill Associates, in his role as the MLA-ITEM lobbyist.

Early this morning the Minnesota Legislature adjourned their Special Session
‘Sine Die’ having passed the seven bills in the global agreement with Gov.
Mark Dayton. The bills detailed a $46 million budget including $650 million
reduction in taxes, $483 million for education, $300 million for
transportation and nearly $1 billion in bonding for public works.

All of the bills now will go to the governor for his signature or veto.
While the governor signed the global agreement that kicked off the special
session, there were few details in that original document. As a result,
activists, union leaders and some high-ranking DFLers are urging him to veto
all or some of the agreement.

While general expectations are that Gov. Dayton will sign or veto the bills
by the middle to end of next week, he has 14 days to consider the bills
passed in the special session after they’re presented to him. The
legislature has three days to present the special session bills to the
Governor.

Bonding Bill

The bonding bill contains $2 million for library construction and renovation
grants. There are no earmarks for these funds so an open grant process will
ensue at the MN Department of Education.

Samuel P. Walseth, Capitol Hill Associates

E-12 Bill, Special Session Status and Bonding Bill

The following information was shared via email with the library community Wednesday evening, May 25, 2017 by Sam Walseth, Capitol Hill Associates, in his role as the MLA-ITEM lobbyist.

 

After a rough start to the special session last night, the House did finally
get the E-12 bill passed by a vote of 79-54. The bill was taken up by the
Senate this afternoon. Unfortunately, the Senate was short a majority member
and so couldn’t take up votes on the budget bills. Instead, they adjourned
until noon on Thursday. The House followed suit. All of the bills are now
posted and everyone has had time to review them.

DFLers are furious with what’s been negotiated in some of these bills. The
unions were out in force at the Capitol today asking them to “shut it down”
and for the Governor to “veto everything.” There’s definitely something to
love and hate in this package of legislation. I think everything gets passed
by both bodies by Thursday night and weary crew of 201 legislators will
leave St. Paul.

Bonding Bill

The bonding bill spreadsheet has been released and it contains $2 million
for library construction grants!!

Here’s a link to the bonding bill spreadsheet; we’re on page 1, line 30:

http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/comm/docs/b8582b99-8e6d-4224-a9cd-525e82634
244.pdf

Samuel P. Walseth, Capitol Hill Associates

E-12 Bill Released

The following information was shared via email with the library community late Tuesday evening, May 23, 2017 by Sam Walseth, Capitol Hill Associates, in his role as the MLA-ITEM lobbyist.

The Governor called the legislature into special session to process their
global budget deal they negotiated late Monday night. We’re just starting to
see some of the omnibus bill get posted for public review. The Tax bill and
the E-12 bill are out. Unfortunately, our request to increase funding for
the regional library systems was not included.

The bonding bill hasn’t been posted yet. The global agreement calls for a
$990 million bonding bill.

Samuel P. Walseth, Capitol Hill Associates

HF2698 and GOP Budget Offer

The following information was shared via email with the library community on Friday, May 19, 2017 by Sam Walseth, Capitol Hill Associates, in his role as the MLA-ITEM lobbyist.

HF 2698 – School Media Specialist grant pool:

Rep. Mary Kunesh-Podein, freshman DFLer from New Brighton, is a school media
specialist and she introduced a bill this morning in the House that would
create a state funded grant pool that school districts could apply to for
purposes of hiring a school media specialist. In speaking with her the other
day she wanted to get the bill introduced late this session so it’s out
there for people to review and discuss over the interim with the goal of
having the bill refined for action next session. Take a look at the bill
language here:

https://www.revisor.mn.gov/bills/bill.php?b=House
<https://www.revisor.mn.gov/bills/bill.php?b=House&f=HF2698&ssn=0&y=2017>
&f=HF2698&ssn=0&y=2017

GOP Budget Offer

In an effort to keep the process moving forward this last weekend of
session, GOP leaders just announced a global budget offer along with
instructions to their committee chairs to begin work on coming up with
omnibus budget bills. Speaker Daudt and Majority Leader Gazelka said they
absolutely want the Governor and his commissioners engaged in the process
this weekend and said these budget targets are still negotiable. They noted
that they left $86 million on the bottom line that could be used to help
close things up. They are committed to passing another round of budget bills
by midnight Monday with the hope that they are sufficient to get the
Governor’s support.

Their E-12 offer is now up to $467 million, still short of the Governor’s
last offer of $507 million. However, a $40 million difference tonight is
much better than the $400 million difference we started the week out with.
They didn’t expound on details of each budget area and said they want their
chairs and the commissioners to hammer out the details. Which early
childhood programs to invest in will be the hardest piece of the puzzle for
the GOP and DFL negotiators to come to agreement on. There is also a
question about what to do with a pension fix for the Teacher’s Retirement
Association (TRA) and whether or not that needs to be included in the E-12
bill.

I will send out updates this weekend as best as I can and certainly if we
have details of the E-12 bill.

Almanac should be interesting this evening.

Samuel P. Walseth, Capitol Hill Associates

Sam

Budget Negotiations

The following information was shared via email with the library community on Tuesday, May 9, 2017 by Sam Walseth, Capitol Hill Associates, in his role as the MLA-ITEM lobbyist.

Legislative leaders met through Saturday and while the tone seemed cordial
there’s little progress to report on. With two weeks left, this is the week
for the GOP to either send some or all of their budget plan to the Governor
where he’s promised to veto them. That would leave the last week of session
to hammer out a deal to avoid a June special session.

The Tax bill is a major source of contention and perhaps the bill the GOP
would like to draw a stark distinction with DFL Governor Dayton. Dayton is
supporting some $300 million in tax relief, while the GOP tax cut plan is
$1.15 billion in size. In scope, the GOP plan includes tax credits for
donations to private scholarship funds, and item Dayton has recently
publicly committed to vetoing.

Competing spending levels and early learning strategies are once again tying
up progress on the E-12 bill. The GOP is poised to repeal Dayton’s voluntary
pre-K (VPK) program in exchange for a smaller amount of funding on early
learning scholarships. The Governor will go to the mat to save his VPK
program. It’s unclear how leadership will end of resolving this issue.

It would be good for local library officials to touch base with their
legislators in the next day or two to remind them of the importance of our
requests for:

.         Bonding funds (Chairs Sen. Dave Senjem, Rep. Dean Urdahl)

.         Legacy funds (Chairs Sen. Carrie Ruud, Rep. Bob Gunther)

.         E-12 funds for regional systems (Chairs Sen. Carla Nelson, Rep.
Jennifer Loon)

Please send me a note if you want advice on which issues are more
advantageous for you to talk to your legislators about. Some are more
engrossed in certain bills than others, especially the chairs.

Samuel P. Walseth, Capitol Hill Associates

House Bonding Bill

The following information was shared via email with the library community on Tuesday, May 2, 2017 by Sam Walseth, Capitol Hill Associates, in his role as the MLA-ITEM lobbyist.

The House Capital Investment committee released a bonding bill this
afternoon. The proposal includes $2 million for library construction
grants!! This matches up nicely with SF 210, which also contains $2 million
for library construction grants.

Scroll to page 5.12 for the library rider language:

http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/comm/docs/bb731505-c334-470d-8c44-e68a59e4d
785.pdf

Scroll to page 1, line 24 for our line item on the spreadsheet:

http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/comm/docs/c6a4e99e-5c1d-41f3-afae-6069d05fc
78c.pdf

House Capital Investment meets Wednesday at 3pm, presumably to move the bill
out to Ways & Means.

Samuel P. Walseth, Capitol Hill Associates

Unified GOP Budget Plan

The following information was shared via email with the library community on Sunday, April 30, 2017 by Sam Walseth, Capitol Hill Associates, in his role as the MLA-ITEM lobbyist.

At the request of Governor Dayton, GOP leaders in the House and Senate have
come up with a unified plan for negotiations as we enter the final three
weeks of the regular session. The GOP budget plan doesn’t move closer to the
Governor’s positions, but is a merger or splitting the difference between
the House and Senate GOP plans.

The unified plan calls for $1.15 billion in tax cuts, about half way between
the House’s $1.35 billion and the Senate’s $900 million. The Governor
proposed about $300 million in tax cuts last January. For E-12 programs, the
GOP plan goes to the Senate’s level of $300 million, up from the House’s
$271 million. However, this is still a far cry from the Governor’s $709
million in proposed E-12 funding. The GOP plan is insufficient to meet 2&2
on the formula ($371 million price tag) and certainly nowhere near the
Governor’s desired level of spending on preK.

Monday will be a hectic day at the Capitol. The various budget conference
committees will unveil the details of their spending plans. E-12 is
convening at 3pm along with several other conference committees. GOP leaders
are hoping to negotiate a budget plan with the Governor by Thursday, but
that doesn’t seem likely.

Legacy

The Legacy conference committee met for a walk through of the House and
Senate plans last Thursday. They meet again Tuesday at 9am. Those with
closer ties to Rep. Bob Gunther and Sen. Carrie Ruud might send a last
minute note to them, urging them to support the House’s level of funding for
library legacy programming.

Bonding

The House is set to finally release a bonding bill early this week. Speaker
Daudt and Ways & Means Chair Jim Knoblach said it will be an $800 million
bill; $200 million of which will go to transportation projects. Library
construction grants have an uphill battle in the House.

Samuel P. Walseth, Capitol Hill Associates

Legislature Returns from Break

The following information was shared via email with the library community on Wednesday, March 22, 2017 by Sam Walseth, Capitol Hill Associates, in his role as the MLA-ITEM lobbyist.

The legislature returned to business today after their Passover/Easter break. They named conference committee members to the various budget and tax bills. Those conference committees will begin meeting this week. With five weeks left the legislature and Governor are miles apart on tax, spending and policy priorities.

E-12 Conferees:
House Reps: Jennifer Loon, Sondra Erickson, Peggy Bennett, Ron Kresha, Mary Murphy
Senators: Carla Nelson, Eric Pratt, Justin Eichorn, Bill Weber, Chuck Wiger

The E-12 conference committee meets for the first time tomorrow at 11:30am in room 200 State Office Building. They will walk through the “side-by-sides” which are comparison documents between the House and Senate bills. This is a perfunctory exercise before any substantial discussion, negotiation and action takes place.

Here’s a link if you would like to peruse the side-by-sides.

Hopefully your efforts last week to continue pushing our regional and multitype system support legislature will pay off. It’s unclear exactly how the conference committee process will proceed. We’ve heard the GOP majorities will work quickly to put conference committee reports on the Governor’s desk to see what he’ll do with them. We’ve also heard they will leave the conference committees open for negotiations with the Governor and use the time remaining until the May 22rd prescribed adjournment date.

We do know the Governor has many problems with the bills as they currently stand. Here’s a link to 55 letters the Administration sent the legislature outlining their issues and concerns with the bills (scroll to page 82 for E-12):

The Higher Education conference committee was also appointed. Those conferees are:
Senators Michelle Fischbach, Rich Draheim, Paul Anderson, Scott Jensen, Greg Clausen

House Reps. Bud Nornes, Drew Christensen, Brian Daniels, Abigail Whelen, Ilhan Ohmar

Legacy Bill

The Legacy bill is still making its way through the Senate process. It will clear the full Senate Finance committee tomorrow morning and them onto a Senate floor debate and passage before getting to a conference committee with the House.

Bonding Bill

A bonding bill is still part of the discussion, but is on hold until House leadership gives the Capital Investment committee the green light to produce one.

Sam Walseth, Capitol Hill Associates

IMLS Funding and Appropriations Process

The American Library Association (ALA) is offering a webinar to cover the federal appropriations process this Thursday, April 13, at 1:30 PM Central Daylight Time. Further details are in the quoted text below. In addition to the information regarding the process at the federal level, here is a bit of detail on how Minnesota and SELCO might be affected.

Currently, Minnesota receives approximately $2.5 million annually from the Institute of Library and Museum Services (IMLS). The bulk of that money is spent on statewide programs such as a contract with Minitex for statewide delivery between regions, MNLINK access, and the ELM databases. A portion also funds the Minnesota Braille and Talking Book Library, which serves pre-school age children to seniors with visual, physical and reading disabilities for whom conventional print is a barrier to reading.
 
In addition, in some years part of these funds are made available to libraries through competitive Library Service and Technology Act (LSTA) grants. In the past, SELCO/SELS has been a lucky recipient of several of those grants.  Most recently LSTA funds helped underwrite the costs of the OCLC Reclamation project. If the funding to IMLS is cut or eliminated there will be effects felt throughout the state and the SELCO region.

This was posted last Thursday on the ALA District Dispatch webpage, which you can access directly here. In addition, attached are letters to Senators Franken and Klobuchar that offer deeper explanation and clarification of exactly what is at stake.  

Appropriations, Budgets, and Continuing Resolutions: what you need to know about the Congressional Appropriations Process

Confused about the $1 trillion Federal Appropriations process? Does talk of the FY 17 budget, FY 18 budget, the President’s “Skinny” budget, Continuing Resolutions and Omnibus budgeting leave you a tad confused? You are not alone!

Join the ALA Washington Office Appropriations expert Kevin Maher and the Penn Hill lobbying group’s Aissa Canchola for an hour-long discussion of the ABCs of the budget process in Washington. These budget experts will help explain how Congress can be working on last year’s budget AND this year’s budget at the same time, what the President’s proposal to eliminate the Institute of Museum and Library Services could mean for more than $213 million in federal library funding and how Congress is expected to proceed in the coming weeks and months.To help answer some of these questions, ALA is hosting a webinar on April 13, 2017, 2:30pm eastern to provide an overview of the Federal budget and appropriations process, its impact on libraries throughout the country and the importance of front line advocacy efforts on behalf of libraries.

The stakes are high this year and all federal library funding is on the chopping block after the President effectively proposed eliminating these important programs. Your calls, emails, tweets to Members of the House of Representatives in support of the annual “Dear Appropriator” letters for the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) and Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) program proved highly successful this year, but we’re only at the start of a year-long FY 2018 appropriations. What’s next on the funding front?

You will walk away from this session with a clearer idea of how Congress’ budget and appropriations machine works and, perhaps most importantly, how YOU can get involved in saving critical library funding for LSTA and IAL.

Here is your chance to hear from the experts and ask questions of how it all works (or doesn’t). No registration is required – just join us on YouTube on April 13, 2017 at 2:30pm eastern and use the #SaveIMLS to ask a question.