MHTA Board of Directors approves 2017 Legislative Agenda

January 27, 2017

MHTA — The Minnesota High Tech Association’s Board of Directors has approved the 2017 Legislative Agenda. The agenda includes proposals aimed at expanding broadband, encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship, improving Minnesota’s cybersecurity infrastructure, and funding science and technology education.

Public policy has long been at the core of MHTA. As we work to help make Minnesota a top-five science and technology state, we advocate for policies that enhance Minnesota’s economic competitiveness and foster a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship. MHTA 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.

The full agenda is below and can also be downloaded (in PDF form) here. Visit our Agenda page to contact your legislators and be sure to sign up for our Public Policy newsletter.

2017 Legislative Agenda

STEM Workforce Development

Goal: Ensure a well-educated STEM workforce to meet the current and future demands of the state’s science and technology employers.

  • Action: Fund the SciTechsperience Internship Program at $2.7 million over FY2018-19, which will provide at least 650 internships at small businesses throughout Minnesota over two years.

Software and Cybersecurity

Goal: Grow Minnesota’s software industry and protect digital assets.

  • Action: Establish a legislative cybersecurity commission to develop legislation to support and strengthen Minnesota’s cybersecurity infrastructure.
  • Action: Support legislative efforts to enhance the State of Minnesota’s cybersecurity infrastructure, using proven private-sector solutions where appropriate.

Broadband and Telecommunications

Goal:  Expand the availability and use of broadband technology to grow new markets, enhance educational access, improve quality of life, and provide Minnesota citizens and businesses the capabilities necessary to compete in a dynamic global marketplace.

  • Action: Support the recommendations of the Governor’s Task Force on Broadband.
  • Action: Modernize Minnesota’s telecommunications regulatory framework by providing regulatory certainty for and up-to-date regulations on voice-over-Internet-protocol (VoIP) services.
  • Action: Support the transition to a fifth generation (5G) wireless network by deploying small cell technology across Minnesota.

Science and Technology Infrastructure

Goal: Strengthen Minnesota’s science and technology infrastructure through funding for research and development, entrepreneurs, and the establishment of a state research and development authority.

  • Action: Enhance Minnesota’s research and development (R&D) tax credit:
    • Increase the rate of the second tier of the R&D tax credit from 2.5% to 10%.
    • Reinstate the refundability of the R&D tax credit so companies without a tax liability can use those funds to reinvest and increase employment opportunities.
    • Allow for an elective state R&D tax credit that mirrors the federal alternative simplified R&D tax credit, but which works in conjunction with the above recommended enhancements.
  • Action: Increase the Angel Investment tax credit to $18 million/year and remove the sunset date.
  • Action: Establish a state-funded matching grant program for recipients of awards from the federal Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) or Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs.

University-Based Science and Technology Research and Education

Goal: Support strong and vibrant STEM research and education at the state’s institutions of higher education.

  • Action: Support $32 million in funding an expansion of the University of Minnesota’s MnDRIVE program.
  • Action: Support $4 million in funding for the University of Minnesota’s Natural Resources Research Institute applied research activities.
  • Action: Support $28.3 million in funding for the construction of the Chemistry and Advanced Materials Science Building at the University of Minnesota – Duluth.
  • Action: Support $25 million in funding to replace Minnesota State’s enterprise technology system.
  • Action: Support funding for Minnesota State’s Applied Technology Center at Century College; Technology Business Center at Inver Hills Community College; and renovation of STEM and healthcare building at South Central College.


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