MN Library Legislative Update

The following legislative updates were written by Elaine Keefe, library lobbyist for the Minnesota Library Association (MLA) and MEMO/ITEM.

CapitolReceived: Friday, 03/21/2014 at 2:46 pm

Omnibus Education Policy Bill (HF 2397 / SF 1889):  Yesterday both the House Education Policy Committee and the Senate Education Committee marked up and passed out of committee their respective versions of the omnibus education policy bill. Both bills were amended to remove the library maintenance of effort language proposed by MDE.  Both bills include the MDE provision allowing some flexibility in how public libraries meet the requirement to be open at least 20 hours per week in order to be eligible for Regional Library Telecommunications Aid.

The Library Task Force proposed by MDE was not included in the Senate bill.  This was done so that the bill would not be required to go to the Senate State and Local Government Committee.  The House also wanted to avoid having the bill stop in the House Government Operations Committee, but accomplished this in a different way.  They amended the language so that rather than creating a task force the bill requires the Commissioner of Education to consult with all of the same parties who were to have been represented on the task force and to issue a report by February 15, 2015.  MDE does not plan to do anything differently than they would have had their original language been included in the bill.

The House version of the bill was referred to the House Education Finance Committee, where it will be heard next Thursday, March 27.  The Senate version of the bill was sent to the floor.

Telecommunications Equity Aid (SF 2167):  Our bill to increase TEA funding by $6 million was heard in the Senate E-12 Education Budget Division yesterday morning. Marc Johnson of ECMECC and Dennis Fazio of TIES did a great job testifying about the need for an increase.  The bill was laid over for possible inclusion in the omnibus E-12 budget bill, which will be released next week.

Minnesota Digital Library:  On Wednesday the House Legacy Committee heard an informational presentation from the Minnesota Historical Society about the programs they are providing with their legacy funding.  Since the Minnesota Digital Library appropriation is part of the Historical Society’s legacy funding, Valerie Horton testified about the progress of the MDL.  She did a terrific job and was very well received by the committee.  Chris Olson and Michael Scott attended the hearing to lend support.  David Kelliher, lobbyist for the Historical Society, commented to me how nice it was that Chris and Michael came to the hearing, and what great partners libraries have been with the Historical Society.

Received: Sunday, 03/23/14 at 6:27 pm

I am happy to report that there IS an increase in Telecommunications Equity Aid in the House Education Finance bill of $5 million!  The appropriation is increased from $3.75 million to $8.75 million.  This is a permanent increase. Thanks to the the eagle-eyed Sam Walseth for spotting this.  It is in the facilities article, at the top of page 59. It  includes an increase in the general education formula of $58 per pupil, about a 1% increase.

Please send thanks to our chief author, Rep. Kathy Brynaert, who pushed hard for this funding:  and Rep. Paul Marquart, chair of the committee:

The bill will be heard on Tuesday, and marked up and passed out of committee on Wednesday. Here is a link to the delete-all amendment:

Elaine Keefe
Capitol Hill Associates