Dear Friends,

As always, thank you for tuning in to events here at the capitol. It’s been a busy first few weeks and I’ve been glad to see so many constituents come visit me in St. Paul.

Below are just some of the highlights and topics being discussed. I appreciate you all sharing  your thoughts and concerns with me and look forward to another long week.

Upcoming Legislative Town Hall Meetings
Senator Isaacson will be hosting two town hall meetings on Saturday, February 23, one for each house district. Details are below. Please join us in district to voice your opinions and to hear updates from your local officials.

Residents of 42A:

Join Senator Jason Isaacson

at Shoreview City Hall

4600 Victoria St N, Shoreview, MN 55126

Saturday, February 23, 2019

12:00 PM – 1:30 PM

District 42A includes all of Arden Hills, Mounds View, northern Shoreview (north of County Road F and Snail Lake Roads) and Spring Lake Park (precinct 1-R only)

Residents of 42B:

Join Senator Jason Isaacson and Representative Jamie Becker-Finn

at Shoreview City Hall

4600 Victoria St N, Shoreview, MN 55126

Saturday, February 23, 2019

10:00 AM – 11:30 AM (doors at 9:30)

District 42B includes all of Gem Lake, Little Canada, Vadnais Heights, southern Shoreview, and Roseville (north of County Road C W and East of Snelling/HWY 51)

Committee work in full swing at the Senate, committee deadlines released

It’s been a busy week at the Capitol with committees in full swing hearing bills including hands-free legislation, electronic monitoring in nursing homes and assisted living facilities, higher education capital investment needs, and requiring a personal finance course to graduate from high school.

There were also a number of press conferences held this week, kicking off with the 100% clean energy press conference, a discussion on wage theft, the announcement of a new United Black Legislative Caucus, and a press conference on tax filing. MN Second Chance also held a press conference and the Joint Religious Legislative Council (JRLC) held their Day on the Hill.

The House and Senate released committee deadlines for the 2019 legislative session. Bills must move out of the house of origin by March 15, and the second deadline of March 29 is for committees to act favorably on bills or companions of bills that met the first deadline in the other chamber. Committees must approve appropriation and finance bills by April 12. The deadlines do not apply to the House committees on Capital Investment, Ways and Means, Taxes, or Rules and Legislative Administration, nor to the Senate committees on Capital Investment, Finance, Taxes, or Rules and Administration.

In Committee:
U of M, MinnState present bonding requests

The University of Minnesota and Minnesota State presented their capital investment (bonding) requests for the 2019 session to the Senate Higher Education Committee this week.

The University presented a bonding request and its plan for Higher Education Asset Preservation (HEAPR) funds. HEAPR funds are used for mechanical and utility maintenance and replacement, roof repair, asbestos abatement and other infrastructure needs.
The U of M is requesting $232.3 million total in HEAPR funds. $200 million of those funds would be used systemwide at the Crookston, Morris, Duluth, and Twin Cities campuses and at research and outreach centers and field stations. $32.3 million would be used for building construction and renovation, including $28 million for the Child Development Building replacement and $4.3 million for the renovation of A.B. Anderson Hall at UMD. MinnState is requesting $159 million in HEAPR funds for systemwide infrastructure updates, including boiler and roof replacements, window and exterior repairs, and advance design plans for future projects.

No decisions have yet been made on the size of a Capital Investment bill this session.

Bill expands PSEO for home-school, private school students
A bill heard this week would allow home-schooled or non-public school 10th grade students taking career and technical classes to take advantage of the Post-Secondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) program. The state would be required to pay for the expansion, which could cost around $10,000 annually.

PSEO was implemented in Minnesota in the 1990s, and, along with concurrent enrollment programs, is vastly popular with students and parents. Approximately 10,000 students participated in PSEO during the 2017-18 school year. Of that amount, 27% were home-schooled/non-public school students.

However, the program has its downside. In the 2017-18 school year, PSEO diverted $32.7 million away from school districts to cover the costs of PSEO at higher education institutions across the state. This bill would add to that and allow more public dollars to be used to support private school and home-schooled students.

Of the $32 million in PSEO costs spent in 2017-18, about $8.6 million is paid on behalf of non-public and home-schooled students. The University of Northwestern had the highest amount paid to it at $4.76 million or about 14% of the total PSEO funds paid out in 2017-18. (S.F. 94)

Legislation Underway:

  • Disclosure of emergency contacts on driver’s license applications in order to positively impact the lives of Minnesotan’s living with epilepsy and other health problems. (S.F. 746)
  • Establishing a community and technical college grant in order to lessen the financial burden on students attending community or technical colleges. (S.F. 956)