When Osman Mohamed Ali returned to Somalia in 2009, he noticed few cultural artifacts remained. Most relics had been destroyed in the country’s 1991 civil war, Ali said, and there were no museums left in Somalia to preserve remaining items.
The Minnesota Daily spoke with Gov. Mark Dayton Wednesday about how higher education has fared in this year’s legislative session. Dayton discussed the University of Minnesota’s budget request, the House and Senate higher education omnibus bills and the consequences of inadequate state college funding.
State lawmakers in the House and Senate are split over when to tackle a bonding bill this year. As the Minnesota Senate’s bonding bill continues to lie in wait, members of the House have yet to introduce their own version of the bill.
Recently passed spending bills by the Minnesota Legislature would provide significantly less state money for the University of Minnesota than requested by the school. The House higher education omnibus bill, passed by a 77-53 vote Tuesday, recommended the University receive $22 million of its requested $147.2 million biennial budget increase.
President Donald Trump’s federal budget proposal may slash funding for several Minneapolis city operations. City officials said the budget would cut funding to the Minneapolis Police Department, local affordable housing, job training and transportation.
Democratic State Rep. Ilhan Omar doesn’t see her freshman status in the Republican-majority Minnesota Legislature as an obstacle. Omar introduced 23 bills in her first few months at the Capitol, five of which are included in omnibus bills.
The Minnesota House and Senate want to give the University of Minnesota significantly less funding than it requested. The University asked for a $147.2 million increase over the biennium, but the House recommended $22 million, while the Senate suggested a $29.6 million increase, according to higher education omnibus bills released last week.
Two newly-elected members of the University of Minnesota’s Board of Regents are looking to bolster transparency and trust with lawmakers after fielding their criticism. Former regent Steve Sviggum and General Mills CEO Kendall Powell were elected to the board by the state Legislature February. Board vice-chair David McMillan and current regent Darrin Rosha were reelected, while Thomas Devine was ousted.
To help rein in the cost of college, Minnesota lawmakers would like to limit student service fees. Two proposals — which are opposed by administrators and student leaders — in the Minnesota Legislature would require the University of Minnesota and Minnesota State institutions to make mandatory student service fees optional or get any proposed increase approved by the student body in a vote.
As state lawmakers mull budget allocations, higher education committee members seek to balance funds for the University of Minnesota and Minnesota State. But the University’s budget request, which includes a $147.2 million increase for initiatives, may take a backseat to Minnesota State this year, which legislators say is in worse shape.
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