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Friday, April 22, 2005

House passes state government, higher education bills

Today the House passed bills funding the state government, as well as higher education in Minnesota. The state government finance bill had some wacky provisions in it, aside from the general negativity from state employees on the cuts in the bill. For example, there was the proposal to allow local units of government to opt out of state mandates, which is a perennial favourite of Republican Mark Olson. It generated some conversation, but nothing too explosive, and it passed the House.

The higher education bill did put more money into education, but coming after the huge cuts in recent years, it merely partially fixes the damage caused before. Tuition will still go up, and more people will have problems attending school. There was also a bit of discussion about General College at the U, which was not exactly part of the bill. This bill also passed.

This is crunch time, and a lot of the funding bills will be taken up over the next couple of weeks in both the House and Senate. The first votes won't matter too much, since all of these bills will be going to conference committee where they will actually be formed into bills that will be signed into law. These first votes do give a good sense of attitudes and general direction, however.

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