by T.W. Budig
ECM Capitol reporter
Lawmakers are spending late nights passing their omnibus budget bills — sending them off to uncertain political fate.
Here’s some of the provisions in some of the bills being debated:
•Omnibus K-12 finance bill: Contains a provision impacting teacher tenure, also language allowing students from poor families attending under performing schools in Minneapolis, St. Paul and Duluth to receive a so-called school voucher to attend private schools.
It calls for a teacher performance effectiveness rating. It calls for literacy incentive funding.
House K-12 Finance Committee Chairman Pat Garofalo, R-Farmington, called the omnibus finance bill “a bold and beautiful bill.”
He heralded the bill’s funding — extra dollars found in a troubled state budget. Garofalo noted the proposed teacher pay-freeze is not in the bill.
One thing lawmakers will not tolerate, Garofalo argued, is adherence to the status quo in education.
As for the voucher provision, Garofalo argued it was not radical but an extension of existing policy.
•Omnibus state government finance bill: Directs the commissioner of the Office of Management and Budget to cut $94 million in state government funding — veterans’ funding and Minnesota State Colleges and Universities dollars are excluded.
The bill creates a sunset advisory commission that could sunset state government agencies deemed no longer needed. Lawmakers would need to re-establish them. It contains a zero-based budgeting and pay-for-performance provisions — that latter could see nonprofit groups obtaining state funding in relationship to the benefit they produce.
The bill calls for at least a 15 percent reduction in the state workforce by 2015.
It also includes a state employee two-year salary freeze provision.
•Omnibus health and human services finance bill: A massive bill including a provision requiring liquor stores, tobacco stores and tattoo businesses to establish protocols to prevent holders of state welfare debit cards from using them for liquor, tobacco, body adornments.
Bills calls for a waiver of federal rules and regulations.
It includes the Freedom of Choice in Health Care Act, a provision proclaiming the freedom of Minnesotans to accept or reject modes of health care without penalties — the acts relates to the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, called ObamaCare by detractors.
The bill also contains a provision prohibiting the use of state dollars to pay for planning or implementation of the federal health care law.
The bill contains a provision on human cloning, establishing penalties.
•Omnibus higher education finance bill: Contains a provision limiting tuition increases at MnSCU to three percent an academic year at MnSCU state colleges.
It limits tuition increase at MnSCU universities to five percent first year, four percent the second academic year.
•Omnibus environment, energy, and natural resources finance bill: Some of the trust funding provisions in the bill directs dollars toward Emerald Ash Bore control studies.
It slates some $5.6 in trust dollars towards aquatic invasive species control actives, with some $442,000 slated towards improving the Coon Rapids Dam as an Asian carp barrier.
The bill contains funding for a study relating to moose mortality.