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Legislative Update: January 17, 2017

Posted By Administrator, Tuesday, January 17, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Tax Conformity Signed into Law

The first bill of the 2017 legislative session has passed through both the House and the Senate chambers on a unanimous vote. HF 2, chief authored by Rep. Greg Davids (R-Preston) and Sen. Roger Chamberlain (R-Lino Lakes), will conform Minnesota individual income tax and corporate franchise tax to federal changes that have been enacted since December 31, 2014. Early on Friday morning, Gov. Mark Dayton signed the legislation, making it the first bill to become law of the 2017 session. A summary of the bill’s impact on Minnesotans’ tax filings was released by the non-partisan House Research Department.

Dayton Announces $34 Million Funding for Broadband Projects

Last week Gov. Dayton announced the recipients of over $34 million in grant funding to improve broadband access to several areas in Greater Minnesota. The funding is part of the Border-to-Border Broadband Development Program passed into law during the 2016 session. Gov. Dayton, later in the week, also announced $500,000 in funding to 12 school districts to improve their access to high-speed internet. Lieutenant Gov. Tina Smith said at the announcement that Minnesotans can expect “robust support” for broadband funding to be a part of Gov. Dayton’s budget proposal.

House Job Growth and Energy Affordability Policy and Finance Committee Hears from DEED Commissioner Hardy

Last week, DEED Commissioner Shawntera Hardy was front and center for the House Job Growth and Energy Affordability Policy and Finance Committee. In what is usually a department overview, Commissioner Hardy was invited to appear before the committee on their first day of work to provide program overviews for the committee. Both the Minnesota Investment Fund (MIF) and Job Creation Fund (JCF) were key pieces of the commissioner’s presentation. Questions from committee members ranged from funding amounts to history of the programs and regional splits. A copy of the PowerPoint presentation can be found by clicking here.

Committee Work

While tax conformity and passing relief for those facing high health insurance premiums have taken center stage, most of the work done at the capitol has been informational in nature. Finance committees have heard from industry experts and agency commissioners outlining the work they do, and detailing the jurisdiction of each committee to the many newcomers to the capitol (there are 44 first-term legislators at the capitol this year). Those finance committees have to compose a $40 billion two-year state budget by the end of May, so they will hold informational meetings before they start to hear bills for inclusion in their omnibus bill packages.

Important Links to Save

As the 2017 session moves forward the pace will quicken, and it can be easy to miss some important information on bills of interest to you. There are several ways to keep up with the legislative process:

  • Subscribe to the House Session Daily updates. They provide terrific inside information throughout the week and you can have articles sent directly to your email.
  • Do you know who your legislators are? Find out on the Who Represents Me? tool, and be sure to subscribe to their legislative updates.
  • Go to the Legislative electronic notifications page to sign up for House and Senate committee notifications, daily calendar notifications, and many other e-updates offered by both chambers’ public information offices.
  • Twitter is becoming an important facet of any capitol observer’s information stream. Follow #mnleg to see what legislators, the capitol press corps, and other key players have to say about the work being done at the capitol.

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Legislative Update: The First Week is in the Books

Posted By Administrator, Tuesday, January 10, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The first week of the legislative session is now complete. A quick briefing of where the legislature stands as legislators were sworn in to office on Tuesday, the first day of session: the Senate will be controlled by the Republican party for only the second time since party designation was used at the legislature, with a very narrow majority of 34 members to the Democrats’ 33 members. The House Republicans boosted their numbers in the last election and now enjoy a majority of 76 members to the Democrats’ 56. The main task before the legislature is crafting and vetting a two-year state budget for all state agencies and programs. Committee deadlines will be announced in the next few weeks as they continue to hold hearings about various proposals (more on the budget process below). Gov. Mark Dayton will likely release his budget recommendations later this month, with the House and Senate caucuses releasing their budgets at a later date.

Gov. Dayton Releases Tax and Bonding Proposals

Gov. Mark Dayton has announced his first legislative proposals of 2017: a tax relief package and a bonding bill. The tax relief proposal would include nearly $300 million in cuts for more than 450,000 Minnesotans, and prioritizes federal tax conformity, the Working Family tax credit, Child Care tax credits and reducing property taxes. The governor’s office released a fact sheet that provides more detail on Gov. Dayton’s tax proposal.

When the legislature adjourned in 2016, it did so without passing a capital investment (bonding) bill, which is typically the top priority of an even-numbered year. Because of the lack of a bill, Gov. Dayton announced he would like the legislature to pass a $1.5 billion bonding bill in 2017. The governor’s office provided a comprehensive spreadsheet of the projects he would like to see receive investments from the state. Both Speaker of the House Kurt Daudt (R-Crown) and Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka (R-Nisswa) have expressed interest in passing a bonding bill this year, but have not committed to the proposition due to the fact that the legislature will be tasked with drafting a state budget of over $40 billion.

Committees EDAM Will be Working with and Following in 2017

Now that session has begun, over the next five months EDAM will be spending a lot of time working with two key committees as we advocate for economic development program funding as the legislature works to set its budget. In the House, the key committee where a number of financial and policy bills will be discussed is the Job Growth and Energy Affordability Policy and Finance Committee. This committee is chaired by Rep. Pat Garofalo (R-Farmington) and full membership of the committee can be viewed here. This committee is scheduled to meet on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons from 3pm-4:30pm.

In the Senate, the Jobs and Economic Growth Finance and Policy Committee will be the key committee that we follow and work with as well. Senator Jeremy Miller (R-Winona) is the chair of the committee and full membership of the committee can be viewed here. The Senate committee will meet on Mondays and Wednesdays from 1pm-2:30pm.

Upcoming EDAM Legislative Visits

As legislators begin to get settled in and find their way around the capitol complex these next few weeks, EDAM will be reaching out to set a few appointments to talk about economic development funding as well as offer our services as a resource on how projects work and why funding the programs that help support projects is key to Minnesota. If you are interested in attending these meetings or have a legislator that you are close with, please let Nick de Julio know. He can be reached at nickd@edam.org

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2017 Legislative Session Begins

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, January 3, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The 2017 Minnesota Legislative Session began today with the House and Senate officially coming to order to begin the 90th legislative biennium. Over the next few weeks legislators will begin to settle into the new legislative session as the begin their work on a number of topics, with setting a budget for the next two years as their top priority. To learn more about the legislators, committees and schedules for the next five months, please click on the links below.

House Information
Senate Information

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