2019 CompTIA DC Fly-in

In February, MHTA’s Policy Director, John Dukich, traveled to Washington, DC as part of the annual CompTIA DC Fly-in. Along with the Technology Councils of North America (TECNA), CompTIA provides associations like MHTA the opportunity to influence technology policy at the federal level. The Fly-in is a two-day event, with the first day focused on various technology policy issues, followed by an award ceremony recognizing federal policymakers, and the second focused on visiting with Minnesota’s congressional delegation on Capitol Hill. This year’s policy issues included:

1.       Building the Cybersecurity Workforce Through Apprenticeships
2.       Prioritizing Emerging Technologies Within an Infrastructure Package
3.       Now Is the Time for Federal Privacy Legislation
4.       The Fourth Industrial Revolution: Moving from Automated to Autonomous

Summaries of the discussion on each policy area can be found on the agenda tab here.

On the second day of the event, attendees heard speeches from a number of people, including Commissioner Brendan Carr from the Federal Communications Commission and former member of Congress Lamar Smith. Following the speeches, attendees set off for Capitol Hill to meet with members of congress to discuss issues of importance to our technology industry. This year, CompTIA’s policy focus is prioritizing emerging technology within an infrastructure package; an infrastructure package is something that Congress and the White House might be able to work together on this year.

CompTIA publishes a briefing book each year, where you can find details about the issues that CompTIA advocates for on Capitol Hill. MHTA’s state legislative agenda can be found here.

2019 Minnesota Legislative Session

State government in Minnesota has a new look in 2019 following elections last year. The 2019 Legislative Session began on Tuesday, January 8 as the House and Senate were called to order. The Democrats took control of the House and Republicans maintained a majority in the Senate, and Minnesota became the only divided legislature in the country.Tim Walz was sworn in as the 41st Governor of Minnesota following Mark Dayton’s 8 years of service.

With all these changes, it is important for the Minnesota High Tech Association to speak for the technology community and educate legislators by advocating for public policy that strengthens Minnesota’s technology-based economy and positions Minnesota as a global leader through the development and use of advanced technologies.

MHTA’s Public Policy committee passed its Legislative Agenda with those tenets in mind, and believes that strong, consistent, focused leadership from the private sector, working in collaboration with academic, nonprofit and government partners, is the critical link in driving our state’s development and recognition as a global technology leader.

As the 2019 session develops, we want to keep you up to date on the work of MHTA staff and partners at the Capitol, and flag important items as they come up. MHTA will advocate for policies that strengthen Minnesota’s science and technology workforce, as well as those that leverage technology to increase government efficiency and improve and sustain Minnesota’s infrastructure.

MHTA will sponsor, support and/or respond to legislation that furthers these principles. Additionally, MHTA will respond to issues and potential legislation that affect member companies and technology businesses in Minnesota as they arise.

MHTA Testimony

Policy Director John Dukich Testifies before a Senate Committee in 2019.

Public hearings are held early in the session so that legislative committees can collect public comment on the bills they are considering. These public hearings are an important opportunity for people to speak directly to the committee about issues that are important to them.

MHTA staff are active participants in this process, testifying about the impact of legislation on the technology community as issues arise. Thus far, MHTA staff and member companies have testified in relation to the following prospective legislation:

  • Feb. 12: House Jobs and Economic Development Finance Division (HF369)—Federal research and development support program created, and money appropriated
  • Feb. 20: Senate Jobs and Economic Growth Finance and Policy Committee (SF788)—Provides Angel Tax Credit program with $20 million in ongoing funding
  • Feb. 21: Senate State Government Finance and Policy and Elections Committee (SF1264)—Establishes a state legislative cybersecurity commission
  • Feb. 27: Senate Tax Committee (SF996)—establishes a state simplified alternative R&D Tax Credit
  • Feb. 27: Senate Committee on Agriculture, Rural Development, and Housing Finance (SF9 and SF1231)—provides $35 million in annual funding for the Border-to-Border Broadband Development Grant Program.
  • Feb 28: House Jobs and Economic Development Finance Division (HF955)—provides $3.47 million in funding for the SciTechsperience Internship Program.
  • March 11: House Greater Minnesota Jobs and Economic Development Finance Division (HF7)—Broadband Grant Program Money Appropriated (support)
  • March 12: House Jobs & Economic Development Finance Division (HF1268)—Small business investment credit (Angel Tax Credit) made permanent, and technical and conforming changes made (support)
  • March 13: House Committee on Taxes (HF2125)—Governor’s omnibus tax bill (support Angel Tax Credit provisions; oppose provisions related to changes to qualified data center tax incentive)
  • March 21: House State Government Finance Division (HF136)—Internet service providers serving Minnesota customers and those under contract to the state or political subdivisions prohibited certain activities, and monetary fines authorized (oppose)

For a full calendar of legislative committee hearings, click here.

The Governor’s Budget Proposal

Governor Tim Walz submitted his budget proposal on February 19. Here are the 6 key areas outlined in his budget that will affect science and technology in Minnesota:

  1. Data Center Software Sales Tax Exemption Modification
  2. Border-to-Border Broadband Development Grant Program
  3. Minnesota Innovation Collaborative
  4. Angel Tax Credit Program
  5. Minnesota IT Services (Cybersecurity)
  6. Department of Commerce (IT Modernization)—Potential Contract Opportunity

More details on the above budget items are available here.

State and Federal Elected Leaders