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Legislative Update: May 8, 2017

Posted By Administration, Monday, May 8, 2017

14 Days Remain

With just two weeks remaining before the constitutional adjournment deadline of the legislative session on Monday, May 22, the final stretch is upon us. Last week conference committees released almost all of their negotiated reports, representing the Republican-controlled legislature’s final proposed budget before beginning negotiations with Governor Mark Dayton.

In January, Gov. Dayton offered a complete proposal for the state budget (it was revised in March following the February budget forecast showing an increase in the budget surplus) which totaled $46.1 billion over two years with an additional $295 million in tax cuts, while the joint House and Senate budget comes to a total of $44.8 billion over two years with a $1.15 billion in tax cuts. In addition to negotiating the state budget and tax cut package, the legislature and governor have to agree to terms of a bonding bill (more on this below), Real ID implementation and the pre-emption bill that would create state-wide labor standards, among many other things.

Jobs Conference Committee Numbers Set, Negotiations on Tap

The biggest news of the week came Monday, when members of the joint House/Senate Conference Committee on Jobs met at the Minnesota Senate Building to release their spreadsheet. The numbers for EDAM initiatives are generally good. They are lower than many had hoped, but they are generally funding amounts that will allow some good work going forward. Most key numbers reflect a true compromise between the less favorable House position and the more favorable Senate position.

The full spreadsheet is available at http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/comm/docs/6941984c-7360-4433-a38d-8addaf66aec3.pdf

Unfortunately there is no funding included for the Redevelopment Grant Program. But some key positive funding numbers in the bill include:

  • The Minnesota Investment Fund receives $24 million for the biennium.
  • The Job Creation Fund receives $15 million for the biennium.
  • The Border to Border Broadband Grant Program receives $15 million for the biennium.
  • The Broadband Development Office receives $500,000 for the biennium.

As a reminder, EDAM members are strongly encouraged to reach out to their elected officials in these last few weeks to support funding for these important initiatives.

Internet Privacy Provisions

Near the end of 2016, then-President Barack Obama established rules for the Federal Communications Commission that would prohibit internet service providers (ISPs) from selling customer data without receiving consent. Early in 2017 there was a law passed at the federal level overriding the rules that were supposed to take effect later this year. In response to concerns from Minnesotans, there was a provision added to both the House and Senate Jobs omnibus bill that would limit what ISPs can do with their customers’ data without receiving their consent.

This week in conference committee negotiations the provision limiting ISPs’ ability to sell data was removed from the Jobs omnibus bill. Sen. David Osmek (R-Mound), chair of the Senate Energy and Utilities Finance Policy committee, said that while the provision has been removed, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the language won’t be reattached to the bill as session continues, saying it is a “work in progress” and that “every Minnesotan’s privacy rights are the same today as they were on January 1.” Rep. Paul Thissen (DFL-Minneapolis), who offered the provision in the House, said that he is confident the work will continue on internet privacy and he believes the work will get done to include the bill in the Jobs omnibus bill.

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