MN Library Legislative Update

**This update was written by Elaine Keefe, MLA/MEMO Library Legislative Lobbyist** (Received on Monday, April 29, 6:09 pm)

The Legislature must adjourn three weeks from today.  Most of the omnibus budget bills were passed on the floor of the House and Senate last week.  Conference committees are in the process of being appointed and will begin meeting later this week. Here is the status of the major bills affecting libraries:

Omnibus Higher Education Bill (SF 1236):  The bill has passed both the House and the Senate.

The Senate higher education bill includes a $300,000 per year increase in funding for Minitex/MnLINK.  The House maintains current funding.

Please contact the conferees listed below and ask them to support the Senate funding level for Minitex/MnLINK:   

Omnibus E-12 Education Bill (HF 630): The bill has passed both the House and Senate. Here are the highlights for MLA and MEMO:

  • Both the House and Senate versions of the bill maintain all library appropriations at current levels.
  • Both the House and Senate change the terminology in statute from “grant” to “aid” for Regional Library Basic System Support and Multi-type funding.
  • The Senate includes language clarifying that total operating capital can be used by schools to purchase computer, software and annual licensing fees. I expect the House to accept this language in conference.
  • The House increases the general education formula by 2% in FY 14 and 2% in FY 15. The Senate increases the general education formula by 1% in FY 14. The House had more money to spend than the Senate did.

House conferees are Reps. Paul Marquart (DFL – Dilworth), Carolos Mariani (DFL – St. Paul), Kathy Brynaert (DFL – Mankato), Will Morgan (DFL – Burnsville) and Dean Urdahl (R – Grove City). Senate conferees are Senators Chuck Wiger (DFL – Maplewood), Patricia Torres Ray (DFL – Minneapolis), LeRoy Stumpf (DFL – Plummer), Alice Johnson (DFL – Spring Lake Park) and Kevin Dahle (DFL – Northfield).

Omnibus Tax Bill (HF 677):  The bill has passed the House and is currently being debated in the Senate. Both bills raise a substantial amount of new revenue via increases in income taxes, sales taxes and and cigarette taxes. The House also raises taxes on alcohol.  Both bills include property tax relief.

The House bill increases aid to cities by $80 million and aid to counties by $30 million.  The Senate bill increases aid to cities by $80 million and aid to counties by $40 million.  These increases will be helpful to public libraries.

Legacy:  The House Legacy bill was scheduled to be taken up on the House floor 10 days ago and then was pulled.  Rumor has it that controversy over the outdoor heritage appropriations have made it questionable whether the bill can pass.  The Senate has not yet put its bill together.