(Officers Only) Call:

Legislative Recap - End of Session

May 24, 2022


We have officially reached the end of the regular Legislative Session for 2022.

Mandated by the Minnesota Constitution, the legislature cannot pass any bills after 11:59pm on Sunday, May 22 and must officially adjourn before the end of May 23.

Bad news! The Governor/Lt. Governor and Legislature didn’t finish their work on time, didn’t pass the omnibus state government/transportation bill and it’s unclear whether the town road funding increase has been agreed to. So what happened???? Here’s the short version…

The Governor/Lt. Governor and members of the Minnesota House and Senate were able to reach agreement on several major provisions but could not reach an agreement on a number of other major provisions before adjournment, so everything got put on hold. Despite a global budget agreement between the Governor/Lt. Gov. and the legislative leadership last Monday (May 16), they were unable to lock in the final details over the last several days.  

So here’s the longer version…

In a final push of legislative activity, some of the major budget/policy bills were agreed upon in full while others weren’t even close. Only the Agriculture & Broadband budget bill managed to get passed by the legislature and sent to the Governor for his expected signature. Here’s the quick rundown on the other omnibus budget/policy bills:

  • Ag & Broadband Housing: Passed and sent to the Governor, but only the Ag & Broadband sections. That includes $200 million in federal broadband money! But they could not apparently come to agreement on housing funding or policy so it was simply left behind.

  • HHS: The policy language was passed by both bodies in the 11th hour last night but no agreement on HHS spending.

  • Taxes: Essentially the tax provisions are agreed to but they are keeping this bill open for any misc. provisions that may need to be added. Also, because this bill is the GOP’s biggest priority, don't expect the DFL to pass it until there is agreement on remaining spending bills.

  • Jobs: The conference committee agreed to a deal, which included the Ka Joog funding. The Senate debated and approved the bill but did not send it to the House.

  • Higher Ed: Passed the House but the Senate did not take action for final passage.

  • State Gov & Transportation: The State Government section is done but final details on transportation funding were still being negotiated when the deadline came and went.  We’ve heard conflicting news on town road funding including, there’s enough “space” for township funding in the final agreement, the Speaker is the roadblock or something else.

  • Environment: The spreadsheet and language were approved by the conference committee but were not adopted by either the House or Senate.

  • Education & Public Safety: There are no indications that either of these bills are even CLOSE to finding agreement. Education may be closer than Public Safety but neither committee posted a spreadsheet or language.

  • Bonding: Apparently there was a Bonding deal reached but for now, with the lack of agreement on other major provisions, bonding may be dead.

So now what? Up until today Governor Walz has been saying that he will not call a special legislative session. So was the Senate Majority Leader. However, in the final days of the regular session, the Speaker was suggesting a special session. This could all change IF (big if) leaders can agree – and it would have to be soon (over the next week) - on remaining sticking points of the remaining bills. In other words, a special session may still be in our future. As of today, the Governor, Lt. Governor and DFLers have indicated an interest in a special session but Senate Republicans have not. So stay tuned!

If state leaders can move forward with negotiations and final deals on those outstanding omnibus bills, we will continue to work behind the scenes on the transportation funding and keep you up to date.

In the meantime, we will see in the next few days whether victory is snatched out of the jaws of defeat or if the global state legislative meltdown continues…

If you have any questions, let me know.

Shep Harris
Government Relations Practice
Fredrikson & Byron, P.A.

SHarris@fredlaw.com

On May 16th, the possibility of agreement seemed brighter, as indicated in this press release:

Governor Walz and key lawmakers release a broad framework to make a $4 billion investment in education, public safety, and health care, while making a once in a generation tax cut

[ST. PAUL, MN, 5-16-2022] – Governor Tim Walz, House Speaker Melissa Hortman, and Senate Majority Leader Jeremy Miller today announced a broad framework for the end of the legislative session that includes $4 billion to invest in education, public safety, and health care, and $4 billion for a tax bill to provide financial relief for Minnesotans.

“I ran for Governor to ensure that every student in every classroom across Minnesota receives an education that will set them up for success. As a former classroom teacher, I know that these historic investments are how we get there,” said Governor Walz. “With an unprecedented surplus, we have the ability to make significant investments in the things that will improve Minnesotans’ lives, like health care, public safety, and education, while also providing tax cuts and putting money in Minnesotans’ pockets.”

“Getting money back to the people has been a top priority for Republicans this session and I'm very happy we were able to accomplish this with permanent ongoing tax relief for hardworking Minnesotans, families, and seniors,” Senate Majority Leader Miller said. “In addition to giving money back, this bipartisan agreement delivers targeted investments in public safety, education, nursing homes, and core infrastructure projects. Finally, leaving money on the bottom line is the fiscally responsible thing to do, especially as the economy appears to be slowing down.”

“House DFLers have been working all session to reduce costs for families, support workers, and improve public safety,” said Speaker Hortman. “We have reached a bipartisan agreement on a budget framework that makes strong investments in families' economic security, education, health care, and public safety to address the challenges Minnesotans are facing. These investments are in addition to the budget we passed last year and the frontline worker bonuses that we got across the finish line last month. This is a positive step forward, but there is a lot more work ahead of us in this final week of the legislative session.”

The plan includes $1 billion for education, $1 billion for health care and human services, $450 million for public safety, $1.5 billion in additional investments, and $1.4 billion in capital investment projects. $4 billion will be put toward a tax bill, leaving $4 billion on the bottom line to help the state manage future economic uncertainty. Details will be finalized in the days to come.

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