Minnesota State Government
The Minnesota State University Student Association (MSUSA) has been very active in the 2012 Minnesota Legislative Session. When planning for session there were a few key areas the organization wanted to focus: capital investment (bonding), photo-identification for voting, and protecting MnSCU from any further appropriation reductions. Throughout session a few other key initiatives have arisen and we have continued to advocate on behalf of our students on issues related to increasing textbook costs, internship opportunities and other items. Below I will outline each issue we’ve actively engaged on and update the status of the particular issue.
Higher Education Omnibus Bills – Many of MSUSA’s key pieces of legislation are included in these bills. The omnibus higher education bills are bills that both bodies (the House and Senate) create after hearing numerous policy bills in their committees. The bills that the committee chairman and chairwoman wanted to pass are then combined into one bill that the committee debates and votes to pass, amend or kill.
The following provisions are included in one or both of the Higher Ed Omnibus bills:
MnSCU Textbook Work Group – included in both the House and Senate
This provision was one of the key focuses of MSUSA during the 2012 session. Increasing textbook costs is a real problem facing students each semester. This work group will bring together all the stakeholders including the student organizations to discuss ways to lower textbook costs. The group will study alternative textbook delivery methods, a cross-campus shared delivery system for textbooks, the expansion of e-books and other technology based methods and a variety of other issues. The goal of this work group is to help assess current practices, present a stable of business strategies, technologies and campus deployment plans that are effective in driving down the cost of learning resources for students while offering greater access to no-or-low cost academic content for faculty. Rep. King Banaian and Sen. John Carlson were our key partners in getting this provision included in the omnibus bills.