Tuesday, March 27, 2012

2012 MSUSA Lobby Corps Highlights

The Minnesota State University Student Association (MSUSA) Lobby Corps efforts this session have been very active and effective. We have had visits with each campus to the Capitol or intense lobbying efforts on the campus of all of our schools. We have met with numerous legislators, the Secretary of State and staff to discuss the major issues of the 2012 session.

Here are some highlights from 2012 Lobby Corps visits:
  1. Students from St. Cloud State worked with Rep. King Banaian to draft changes to current law on textbook notification and a MnSCU Textbook Work Group. The legislation will ultimately lead to students having more information on alternative methods to purchase required texts and bringing down overall textbook costs.
  2. Students from Bemidji State asked Sen. John Carlson to be the lead Senate author for the textbook legislation and completed two trips to the Capitol.
  3. Students from Winona worked hard to get Sen. Jeremy Miller to oppose the constitutional amendment to the voter ID requirement. He was the lone member of the majority to vote against the proposed amendment on the floor. WSU President Jack Linehan also testified in front of the House Taxes Committee for the Greater MN Internship Tax Credit proposal. His testimony helped the bill gain a lot of support and with a few tweaks the proposal was included in the House Taxes final bill.
  4. MSU-Moorhead students have completed two trips to the Capitol this session and played in an important role in the voter ID debate as well as the higher ed bills. MSU-Moorhead students met with Secretary of State Mark Ritchie to discuss the alternatives to voter ID that would both show someone's identity before they cast a ballot as well as preserve same-day registration.
  5. Metro State students met with each member of the Senate Higher Ed Committee on their visit to the Capitol and pushed the textbook legislation as well as the increase in MnSCU's revenue fund authority so they could complete two veryimportant projects on their campus; the new parking structure and a student center.
  6. Southwest State students completed two very important trips to St. Paul this year. First, they got to meet with their local legislators and get them to push the Chairs of Capital Investment on the importance of HEAPR funds and spoke to specific projects on the SMSU campus that are in dire need of repair. On the second trip they got to watch the debate of the House higher ed omnibus bill which turned into a very contentious debate over proper committee rules and the minorities role in the process.
  7. MSU-Mankato students visited with legislators from all across the state as part of a "Mankato Day at the Capitol." The students got to voice the importance of local bonding projects and the out of control textbook costs they are seeing on their campus.
We have a few more trips planned during 2012 and are hoping that one final push is all we need to get some of our legislative objectives passed into law.

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