With only two weeks to go before the Constitutionally mandated adjournment date of May 17, Conference Committees are finally starting to meet to begin the process of resolving differences between the omnibus budget bills passed by House and Senate. The Workforce and Business Development Conference Committee was one of the first to meet, and has walked through the differences between House and Senate proposals and taken testimony from the public. EDAM participated in the public testimony portion of the Conference Committee hearing with comments from Government Relations Committee Chair Scott Marquardt urging conferees to include baseline funding for the Redevelopment Grant Program.
The next major step in the budget setting process is for Senate Majority Leader Gazelka and House Speaker Hortman to agree to joint budget targets to provide to their members. Once chairs know how much of the state budget they are able to utilize, they can actually start to assemble their bills. The legislative leaders have stated they are hoping to agree to those joint targets by Friday May 7. This would leave one week for Conference Committees to assemble and pass their bills and then for the Conference Committee reports to pass both the House and Senate floors. This is an ambitious timeline, but if agreement has been reached it may still be doable.
There are other issues to be resolved along with the budget, including the Governor’s peacetime emergency powers, an off-ramp for the existing moratorium on evictions, and how to spend roughly $2.6 billion in federal funds coming to the state. Coupling these big-ticket items with the policy and budget decisions yet to be made in Conference Committees, it promises to be an action-packed sprint to the finish.
As a reminder, the ten Conferees for the Workforce and Business Development Conference Committee are:
An engaging three-day event you won't want to miss.