Legislature Returns After Extended Blizzard Delay

February 28, 2023
After the Legislature uncharacteristically shut down for several days ahead of last week’s storm and suspended committee hearings and floor sessions, the general atmosphere is one of intensity as committees look to hear a slew of bills ahead of upcoming committee deadlines.

The headline for the week is the Minnesota Management and Budget Office (MMB) February forecast was released yesterday.
This is an important milestone during the first year of the biennium as it allows leadership and committee chairs to begin to set budget targets and determine how much each budget area such as education, economic development and healthcare will be allowed to spend.

The updated forecast projects a surplus of $17.5 billion.
Revenues have continued to come in higher than projected since the last forecast in December. The $17.5 billion amount is slightly less than in December, but this is because MMB now has to include inflation in their calculations and lawmakers have already passed several spending bills.

Another legislative focus this week has been on the early-session bonding bill, with an overall price tag of $1.9 billion. The bill continues to advance in the House, passing out of the Ways and Means committee last night on a party-line vote (which includes some DEED funding we are tracking, see last week’s update). The next stop will be the House Floor, tentatively schedule for next week.

With a record number of bills introduced (we’re up to approximately 2,500 in each Chamber already), and committee deadlines looming there is a lot of committee work to be done in the next two weeks ahead of the March 10th deadline. Committee leaders are already acting accordingly with the Senate Jobs Committee hearing six bills yesterday on a variety of issues including funding for technical training programs and grants for regions who will be seeing their power plants close in the next decade.

Work also continues on EDAM’s top priority, increased base funding for the Redevelopment Grant Program. We have secured bill authors for Redevelopment in the Senate with the bill being chief authored by Senator Zaynab Mohamed from Senate District 63. Because the bill is an appropriation and does not contain new policy language, it is not subject to the first committee deadline and is likely to be heard later in March. We will keep EDAM members updated as we work to secure funding for this vital program.

Finally, our Day at the Capitol event has been rescheduled for March 15th - details & registration available here!