Tuesday, May 31, 2011

MSUSA 2011 Legislative Recap

The final day of the 2011 MN Legislative Session was Monday, May 23rd and ended without a budget agreement. The budget that the legislature passed was vetoed on May 24th, including the Higher Education Finance bill. This means that there will need to be a special session to resolve the differences between the Governor’s and the legislature’s budget proposals.
Special sessions are called by the Governor, and once started it is up to the legislative leadership to adjourn them. It is most likely that a special session will not be called until the Governor and legislative leaders have worked out a compromise. Many Capitol insiders believe that there will be a government shutdown before a compromise has been worked out. The government shutdown would start on July 1st and last until a budget has been passed by the legislature and signed into law by the Governor.
The Higher Education bill (HF1110) was passed by the legislature on May 19th and vetoed by Governor Dayton on May 24th. In the Governor’s veto letter he specified a few things that were unacceptable to him and forced a veto. Those things are:
· Cuts to MnSCU and the UofM were too deep.
· Tuition should be set by the MnSCU boards and the UofM Board of Regents, not by the legislature. In other words, no legislatively mandated tuition caps.
· Office of Higher Education cuts were too deep.
· Gov Dayton did not like the legislature’s policy restricting the use of state funds for human cloning (commonly referred to as stem-cell research).
He concluded the letter with this paragraph:
“The choices we made as leaders are a reflection of our values and priorities. Our Colleges and Universities, as well as our highly-skilled and educated workforce, are part of what make Minnesota great. I am returning this bill to you with the hope that we can come together and compromise, and demonstrate our commitment to our students and to higher education in Minnesota.”
To see the full veto letter please click here.
The details of HF1010, the legislature’s higher education budget proposal are as follows:
Spending Provisions
· Total Higher Ed Spending
o Legislature - $411 million reduction (-14.1%)
o Gov Recommendation - $170.9 million reduction (-6%)
· Office of Higher Education Administration
o Legislature – $520,000 reduction (-9.9%)
o Gov Recommendation - $263,000 reduction (-5%)
§ Also, the State Government Finance bill (vetoed) would have required an additional 15% reduction in state employees. That would have meant additional loss of staff to the Office of Higher Education.
· State Grant Program Total
o Legislature - $21.1 million increase (+7.3%)
o Gov Recommendation – $0 (0%)
§ Work Study
· Legislature - $884,000 reduction (-3%)
· Gov recommendation - $9,724,000 reduction (-33%)
§ Child Care Grant Program
· Legislature – no reduction, no increase (0%)
· MnSCU Totals
o Legislature - $179.7 million reduction (-14.3%)
o Gov Recommendation - $75.6 million (-6%)
· Tuiton Increase Limits (caps)
o Legislature – Limits tuition increases for State Universities at 5% for 2012 and 4% for 2013. Also limits tuition increases at 2-year Colleges at 3% for 2012 and 2013.
o Gov Recommendation – No comparable provision
· Student Fee increase limits
o Legislature – Limits fee increases to 4%, unless a “public majority vote by the recognized campus student association.” This means that if a fee is being raised higher than 4% it requires the Universities Student Senate to vote on the increase.
o Gov Recommendaiton – no comparable provision
· MnSCU Central Office
o Legislature – Approximately a -10% reduction
o Gov Recommendation – no comparable provision
· Total
o Legislature - $243.6 million reduction (-18.9%)
o Gov Recommendation - $77.1 million reduction (-6%)
· Prohibition on Human Cloning
o Legislature – Language could inhibit embryonic stem cell research at the UofM and Mayo
o Gov Recommendation – See Governor’s veto letter
Changes in Statute (policy provisions)
· MnSCU Undergrad Tution Guarantee Program
o Encourages MnSCU to offer optional plans to hold tuition constant at the rate charged in the first semester. To make the program work the first year is an inflated cost and the students must finish their undergrad in four years. The advantage of a program like this is a guaranteed tuition rate. However, there are many potential shortfalls. The UofM offered a program like this at their Universities and in 10 years only approximately 140 students participated in the program.
· Credit Transfer within MnSCU
o MnSCU trustees shall provide information about the system’s Smart Transfer plan, including the number of students transferring among MnSCU institutions and mechanisms for effective transfer of credit in other states.
Higher Education Veterans Program
The Higher Education Veterans Program was set to lose funding on June 30th, 2011. The Legislature included funding for 2012 and 2013 in their State Government and Veterans Finance Bill that was ultimately vetoed by Governor Dayton, but not because of this piece but many other controversial provisions that were also included in the bill. MSUSA will continue to fight for the funding necessary to continue this vital service for the Veterans attending our universities.
Rental Property Tax Rebate
The legislature included a reduction to the percentage of tax rebate given to renters from the current rate of 19% to 15%. This means that if you rent an apartment and pay $500/mo for 12 months and make under $53,000 in income that year under current law your rebate would have been $1,140. Under the legislature’s plan your rebate would be reduced to $900, a reduction of $240. The bill this provision was included in was also vetoed by Governor Dayton.
Voter ID
The legislature passed a “voter Id” bill that would repeal the current vouching system that many college students use to vote as well as require a photo-identification with a current address when voting. Governor Dayton vetoed the bill saying,
“The push to require photo-identification in order to vote has been based on the premise that voter fraud is a significant problem in Minnesota. I do not believe that to be the case.”
It is likely that the legislature will move ahead with a constitutional amendment to require a photo-ID when voting. This would be put on the ballot in November 2012 and would require a majority of voters voting “yes” to be passed and added to the MN Constitution.
MSUSA will continue to be engaged as discussions continue and a budget is negotiated. We will continue to advocate on behalf of students and maintaining accessibility and affordability to our public higher education institutions. Please check back for updates as the budget process continues and the legislature and Governor work to overcome their differences and complete a budget that reflects the values of our state.

Hiring Interns! Applications due June 6th

The Penny Program is now accepting applications for a fall semester Development Intern. The intern can earn up to $4,000 for 530 hours of work from July-December 2011. Please send your resume and cover letter to Kari Winter by Monday, June 6th, 12pm. Click here to see the job description.

The Jared P. Stene Student Leadership Scholarship is now accepting applications for a fall semester Development Intern. The intern can earn up to $1,000 for 130 hours of work from July-December 2011. Please send your resume and cover letter to Kari Winter by Monday, June 6th, 12pm. Click here to see the job description.

Interns must work out of the MSUSA Office at 23 Empire Drive, Saint Paul, MN.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Penny Golf Scramble Registrations Due May 31st

You're invited to attend the 18th Annual Penny Golf Scramble on Thursday, June 2nd at The Jewel Golf Club in Lake City, MN. Register by clicking here or calling the MSUSA Office at 651-224-1518.

Team registrations are due Tuesday, May 31st by noon.

Bring extra cash to participate in the course games, raffle and silent auction. Our wonderful donated items come from great organizations and businesses such as:

Science Museum of Minnesota
Treasure Island Resort & Casino

The Old Log Theater

Guthrie Theater

Minnesota Vikings

Surly Brewing

Dick's Sporting Goods

Welch Village

Cannon River Winery

Summit Brewing Company

Cafe Latte

Watch this video to learn more about this fun event!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Penny Program Announces Spring 2011 Recipients

The Minnesota State University Student Association and the Penny Program Board would like to congratulate its 2011 Penny award recipients:

Sarah Butrum is being awarded a $5,000 Timothy J. Penny Federal Public Service Fellowship for her Native American Congressional Internship through the Udall Foundation in Washington D.C. Originally from Veblen, SD, Sarah recently graduated from Minnesota State University Moorhead with a major in Psychology and minors in Business Management and Political Science.

Troy Osterloo is being awarded a $5,000 Timothy J. Penny Federal Public Service Fellowship for his summer internship in Washington D.C. coordinated by The Washington Center. Originally from Freeman, SD, Troy currently attends Southwest Minnesota State University where he is pursuing degrees in Political Science and Justice Administration.

Jack Linehan is being awarded a $2,500 Timothy J. Penny State Public Service Fellowship for his City Management internship with the City of Forest Lake. Originally from Lindstrom, MN, Jack currently attends Winona State University where he is pursuing majors in Political Science and Public Administration and a minor in Economics.

Nicole Hall is being awarded a $1,500 Barbara J. Penny Community Service Scholarship for her dedication to community service shown through a variety of experiences, including dental access projects, stocking stuffing and tutoring chemistry. Originally from Kalispell, MT, Nicole currently attends Minnesota State University Moorhead where she is pursuing a degree in Biology with a focus on Health and Medical Sciences and Pre-Dentistry.

The Penny Program is named in honor of former Congressman and member of MSUSA, Tim Penny, and in memory of his wife, Barb Penny. The program awards Minnesota state college and university students who participate in public service internships and show a commitment to community service. Since 1987, The Penny Program has awarded more than $175,000 in scholarships.

For more information, please visit:



Monday, May 16, 2011

Hiring: Penny & JPS Scholarship Development Interns

The Penny Program is now accepting applications for a fall semester Development Intern. The intern can earn up to $4,000 for 530 hours of work from July-December 2011. Please send your resume and cover letter to Kari Winter by Monday, June 6th, 12pm. Click here to see the job description.

The Jared P. Stene Student Leadership Scholarship is now accepting applications for a fall semester Development Intern. The intern can earn up to $1,000 for 130 hours of work from July-December 2011. Please send your resume and cover letter to Kari Winter by Monday, June 6th, 12pm. Click here to see the job description.

Interns must work out of the MSUSA Office at 23 Empire Drive, Saint Paul, MN.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

FORE! Penny Golf Scramble - June 2nd, 2011

Imagine spending a warm afternoon on a beautiful golf course with your friends, followed by a raffle and steak dinner. Then imagine you’re supporting Minnesota’s state college and university students who are committed to community and public service!

Well, this wonderful dream could become a reality on Thursday, June 2nd, 2011 at the 18th Annual Penny Golf Scramble. The shotgun start begins 12:00pm at The Jewel in Lake City. Visit our website to find detailed information and a registration form.

Attendance includes 18 holes of golf, golf carts, and a steak dinner:
$420 for a foursome
$110 for a single golfer
$90 for a student

Sponsorship opportunities are available and include signage beforehand and at the event, golf entries, dinner, and additional support for students.

Registration will close after the first 144 golfers have paid.

Not a golfer? No problem! For only $10 you can attend a golf training clinic taught by the course pros. Stick around for the steak dinner, raffle, and awards at 6:00pm.

Proceeds benefit the Penny Program, which rewards students for community and public service. Since 1987, the Penny Program has provided more than $175,000 in awards to MnSCU students.

Please join us! Everyone is welcome.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Organizing the Millennial Generation #3

Although there is no one-size-fits-all description of the individuals within a generation, there are some distinctive traits for the Millennial generation that, when considered carefully, can influence how we organize on college campuses. This “Organizing the Millennial Generation” series will examine several of these traits in greater detail. The third of these examinations is below. Enjoy!

Millennial Trait #3: Used to a World Awash with Information:
Due to the glut of information bombarding Millennials every day of their lives, their attention can be incredibly difficult to capture.

Implications for organizing:
When writing an organizing plan or thinking about how to execute an organizing tactic on campus, spend time carefully crafting a message that will resonate with students. Make your message relevant to their concerns and demonstrate the ways in which their interest is at stake. Explain the risks involved and how they will be adversely impacted if they do nothing.

Also, think about a catchy slogan or funny/ironic marketing scheme that is attention-grabbing and won’t be obscured by the thousands of messages students encounter every day. You've got to be creative and original to get attention!

Legislative Update 5/2-5/6

The higher education conference committee met this week to hear testimony from those organizations affected by the House and Senate higher education bills. Testifying on behalf of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system was Chancellor Jim McCormick who asked conferees to provide the system with as much flexibility as possible so that there are tools available to preserve services to students as budgets are being reduced.

McCormick said the Board of Trustees, presidents, students, faculty and staff have been grappling with the fiscal challenges the state has been facing for several years. He asked conferees to do what they can to minimize budget cuts to the system. He said the colleges and universities enrollment is at a record setting pace, and the institutions want to continue being able to provide the education students seek. McCormick said, “The students and the institutions that comprise the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities are a national success story. We offer high quality, affordable education to the people of Minnesota, and we ask your help in protecting and preserving this public asset in the years ahead.”

Andrew Spaeth, Chair of the Minnesota State University Student Association told conferees that the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system is a valuable asset for the state of Minnesota. Spaeth also informed members that the best form of financial aid is low tuition, and that cutting the system to fully fund the state grant program sacrifices quality to the system.

Ted Tollefson, Metropolitan State University faculty, informed conferees that he chose to teach at Metropolitan State because he
supports the mission of the system; to provide an accessible and affordable education. Tollefson said higher education is an expense, but it is also an investment.

Don Larsson, President of the Inter Faculty Organization, and Russ Stanton, Director of Government Relations for the IFO, both testified that the IFO would like to see improvements in appropriation to the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system. Stanton said the Board of Trustees tuition consultation process with the system should be allowed to work and the Legislature should not set tuition in law. Larsson said the IFO does not support salary caps for presidents or the chancellor. He said Minnesota needs quality people in those positions.

Kevin Lindstrom, Vice President for the Minnesota State College Faculty, told conferees that MSCF is concerned with how the cuts will impact access, quality, the communities they serve, and morale among the faculty. Lindstrom also said that the cuts will force bad decisions that will be the beginning of a downward spiral.

Also offering a message of minimizing cuts to higher education was University of Minnesota President Bob Bruininks who said the University of Minnesota is one of the most productive universities in America, and cuts will erode the University's mission. Bruininks said the University expects to be part of the solution, but if the proposed cuts were enacted, it would take them back to 1998. He said state funding is essential to the quality of the University of Minnesota.

Members listened to all the testimony and adjourned the meeting. Co-chair Bud Nornes, R-Fergus Falls, holds the gavel and will call the next conference committee meeting, likely this week.

Voter ID Proposal

This week the Voter ID Proposal passed the House and will not move into a conference committee and ultimately be sent to the Governor. MSUSA will not begin to work with the Governor’s office to express our serious concerns with this proposal. If signed into law this could disenfranchise thousands of student voters due to the repeal of the current “vouching” process as well as the onerous burden of maintaining a current voter ID card.

Higher Ed Veterans Campus Centers

The State Government Conference Committee has been meeting the last two weeks and in their bill they have funding for and the repeal of the sunset for the Higher Ed Veterans Campus Centers. The Senate’s proposal repeals the sunset date and keeps the program alive into the future. The Senate also funds the program at its requested level of $945,000.
The House originally had proposed to fund the program at the same level, but since then has “zeroed” out the funding but has kept the repealer so the program could be funded in the future.
MSUSA will continue to work throughout the process to get this program funded and help our veterans on campus and our future veterans that will attend our universities.
With two weeks left, lawmakers and governor are not any closer to an

Committees met this week to process policy bills before the final deadline of Friday, and some of the conference committees made progress by adopting provisions that are the same or similar between the House and
Senate versions. However, Gov. Dayton asked Republican legislative leaders to pick up the pace on the budget and said he would rather go to a special session than agree to the current legislative budget plan of $34 billion.

Republican leadership has said throughout session that the state will live within its means, and the budget will be at $34 billion, and the ten budget bills reflect that. When asked this week if they would move off that position to avoid a special session, Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch, R-Buffalo, said you need 34 votes in the Senate, 68 votes in the House and ultimately the governor’s signature, and indicated there is a way to work with the governor. Koch went on to say the Republican
caucus is not going to raise taxes, but there are two-and-a-half weeks left to continue discussions.

Gov. Dayton continues to say he will negotiate with legislative leadership when they have a single position through passage of the conference committee reports. Rep. Morrie Lanning, R-Moorhead, co-chair of the state government conference committee, said this afternoon that he is disturbed that the governor does not want to engage during the conference committee process. “This means I have no idea how this is going to wrap up by May 23,” Lanning said. Koch said conference committees would meet six days next week and hopes some conference reports might be able to be brought to the floor for a vote. With only
two weeks from Monday, Capitol watchers are not very hopeful there will be a May 23 adjournment, but two weeks in the legislative world is actually a very long time. Stay tuned.

Senate confirms Trustee Englund

Senate Higher Education committee members unanimously confirmed Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Board of Trustee member Jacob Englund. The committee’s confirmation will head next to the Senate floor, where it is to be taken up by the full Senate with the other five trustees confirmed earlier by the committee. Those trustees are: Duane Benson, Phil Krinkie, Alfredo Oliveira, Tom Renier and Michael Vekich.

Sen. Kathy Sheran, DFL-Mankato, asked Trustee Englund what he believes to be the most critical issues the system faces. “Students are our number one priority,” Englund said. He said the budget is the biggest issue trustees are currently dealing with, and he tries to think about students when making budget decisions, which includes keeping tuition as low as possible. Englud said he also thinks about students when determining how to maintain a quality education in this time of budget reductions. As a trustee, Englund said he sees his responsibility as meeting the needs of the workforce, providing an affordable education and getting students out the door with a great education.

Senior citizen tuition bill moves through process

On the House floor this week, HF 821, a bill introduced by Rep. Bud Nornes, R-Fergus Falls, that reduces the age from 66 to 62 for senior citizens to receive reduced tuition, passed by a vote of 126-4. The Senate also took action on the bill this week. The Senate Higher Education committee took up the bill today and amended it to include language that exempts the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities farm or small business management program that includes on-site individualized instruction, from the tuition benefit.

After a long discussion about the merits of offering free tuition to senior citizens, and at what age the benefit should be offered, if at all, Sen. Sandy Pappas, DFL-St. Paul, offered an amendment, that was eventually approved, that brings the age to 64 for senior citizen students to receive free tuition. The bill was sent to the floor.

The original senior citizen language (that does not include the two amendments adopted today) is also included in both the House and Senate versions of the higher education finance omnibus bill. As a reminder, this language would reverse the law passed last session that increased the age from 62 to 66.

Stalemate for the state government conference committee

The ten conferees for the state government finance bill met early in the week and adopted policy provisions that were the same or similar in the House and Senate versions of the bill. One of the provisions adopted includes the plan to create a “Sunset Advisory Commission.” This group would be tasked with recommending the abolishment or reorganization of state agencies based on certain criteria like duplicative services. Another provision includes requiring the Department of Administration to issue a request for proposals for a “strategic sourcing initiative” to save money on stateprocurement.

The House sponsor, Rep. Morrie Lanning, R-Moorhead, said adopting the provisions that are the same or similar between the two bills is the easy part. The bigger question, he said, is the fiscal provisions, which conferees attempted to tackle today. One of the provisions with substantive differences between the House and Senate bill is the salary freeze provision. The House bill exempts Minnesota State Colleges and Universities faculty and administrators from the freeze, but the Senate bill does not. As of the time of this writing, conferees have not debated that specific provision, or any others, because testimony from the affected agencies changed the course of the conference committee meeting.

Commissioners that represent the affected agencies in the state government bill testified to what a 15 percent reduction to their
workforce would mean to their respective agencies. Governor Dayton’s Deputy Chief of Staff Michele Kelm-Helgen was asked about the governor’s position on the state government bill. Kelm-Helgen reiterated what Gov. Dayton said publicly this morning, that it is important the House and Senate establish one position in order to be compared to the governor’s position. She said once the positions are clear, then the governor will begin negotiating on the bill. Lanning questioned if the governor understands that his viewpoint will only delay finding a resolution on the budget. Co-Chair Sen. Mike Parry, R-Waseca, asked if the governor think his commissioners should be presenting worst-case scenarios to the committee. Kelm-Helgen said that
while she cannot speak for him, the governor feels it’s important that the commissioners articulate the potential impacts of the bill.

Congress returns to Washington and discusses the debt ceiling

After a brief recess last week for members of Congress to return to their home districts, Congress reconvened this week where the debate has centered on the fiscal year 2012 federal budget and the debt ceiling. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said this week that trillions in real spending cuts should be made if the debt ceiling is raised. The $14.3 trillion legal limit on borrowing will be reached by Aug. 2, and Republicans are calling for immediate cuts and spending caps as concessions from the Obama Administration to raise the debt limit. Democrats have talked about a debt trigger that would require automatic tax increases or spending cuts later to ensure the debt is declining as a percentage of the economy. The debt ceiling has been raised almost 100 times since the early 1900’s.

Upcoming Education and Workforce Committee hearing

Minnesota Congressman John Kline, Chairman of the Education and Workforce Committee, announced a hearing for Wednesday, May 18, at 9:00a.m. (CST) on “Removing Inefficiencies in the Nation’s Job Training Programs.” Webcasts of committee hearings are available at: http://edworkforce.house.gov/Webcast/

Monday, May 2, 2011

Alumni Association Update: April 2011

Congratulations Graduates!
Ten students who will be graduating this spring were recognized at the Spring 2011 Delegates Conference. Each of them received Alumni Association water bottles. Congratulations and we look forward to working with you through the Alumni Association!

3rd Annual Alumni Association Meeting
The 3rd Annual Alumni Association meeting was held on Saturday, April 9th in Woodbury, in conjunction with the student delegates conference. At the meeting elections were held, there was discussion about future association goals, and discussion about how alumni can become more involved. Dinner was provided after the meeting at the Green Mill, see attached photo. Alumni also stuck around to watch the students meet during delegates.

Welcome New Alumni Association Board Members
The following alumni were elected to serve on the Board until April 2013. Congratulations!

Chair: Josh Martin
Bemidji State University: James Foster
Minnesota State University, Mankato: Brett Anderson
Southwest Minnesota State University: Justin McMartin
St. Cloud State University: Michael Jamnick
Winona State University: Ian Galchutt
At-Large: Jennifer Weil and Michael Meehlhause

Thank you to the alumni that have served on the Board over the past two years: Krista Murakami, Ryan Flynn, Berne Christiansen, Chris Ostrowski and Julia Opoti!

Board Meeting: Thursday, May 12th, 6:00pm
The Alumni Association Board will be meeting on Thursday, May 12th, 6:00pm at the MSUSA Office. The FY12 budget recommendation will be revised and plans for the summer, including an association BBQ, will be made.

18th Annual Penny Golf Scramble

Join us on Thursday, June 2nd, 2011 at The Jewel Golf Club in Lake City, MN. The shotgun start begins at noon, followed by a steak dinner, raffle, and awards. Contributions are $420 per foursome and benefit the Penny Program. Beginning at 2pm you can also participate in the training clinic to learn how to golf for $10. Register online by clicking here!

9th Annual MSCSA Leadership Scholarship Bowling Tournament
Join us on Wednesday, May 25th, 4:30pm-6:30pm in Inver Grove Heights to raise money at a bowling tournament for the MSCSA Leadership Scholarship. $30 per person or $180 for a lane of six people.

MSUSA Elects 2011-2012 Officers
At the Spring Delegates Conference held in April, the following students were elected to serve as the 2011-2012 MSUSA Officers:
State Chair: Amanda Bardonner, St. Cloud State University
Vice Chair: Nikki Sabby, Minnesota State University, Mankato
Treasurer: Tyler Ulferts, Minnesota State University, Mankato

JPS Scholarship Awards Moorhead Student
Jessica Ann Remhof, an MSU Moorhead student was awarded the Spring 2011 $1,000 award for her commitment to student leadership. Jessica, originally from Inver Grove Heights, MN, is in her second year of the School Psychology Graduate program at MSU Moorhead. Her dream career is to be a School Neuropsychologist.