Minnesota's Legislature is back in session and facing a $6 billion state deficit. Decisions made during this legislative session will have a significant impact on the University and Extension. Legislative relations will be a significant priority for me and the leadership team in the coming months and I want to keep you informed of these important activities.
Last night, the University held its annual Legislative Briefing. Extension had over 60 staff and citizens from across the state at the University event. To learn more about the information shared last night, please take a few moments to read President Bruinink's budget update and legislative outlook message that was emailed to the University community earlier today.
Following last night's briefing, we hosted Extension Day at the Capitol today for citizen advocates and regional directors. Following an Extension Legislative Briefing this morning, participants went to the capitol to meet with legislators from their districts to ask for support for the University and Extension.
Next week, Deans Trevor Ames, College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM), and Al Levine College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences (CFANS) and I will present to the House and Senate Agriculture committees on how the Agriculture State Special funds are being used to address Minnesota's needs. This is important to Extension because 42% of Extension's annual budget is funded through the state of Minnesota, and the vast majority of that $28 million comes through Minnesota's Agriculture State Special appropriation. Both CVM and CFANS receive funding through the Agriculture State Special as well.
We have several resources available to support legislative efforts:
- The About Extension section of the website has been updated and includes links to fact sheets created for use with the legislators. If you talk with your legislator, please refer to the key messages from these fact sheets. We will add fact sheets as needed throughout the legislative session.
- The Government Relations section on the Extension intranet has tools on general advocacy; guidelines for meeting with elected representatives; information on how to reinforce Extension's important value to the state; and resources for effective advocacy at the national, state and local level.
- If you have not done so already, I encourage you to join the University Legislative Network. You will receive updates as well as instructions on how you can support the University during this legislative session.
It is important that all Extension staff continue to support and advocate for Extension and the University. To help us maintain a collective advocacy effort within Extension, remember to follow our government relations guidelines:
- If you have been formally invited to testify at a legislative hearing you need prior approval.
Send the following information to Sarah Greening: committee, agenda topic, date and time
- If you meet with legislators or staffers, complete this form. The form is automatically routed to Gwen Gmeinder for inclusion in the Extension legislative database.