March 21, 2023
The second deadline – where committees must act favorably on bills that met the first deadline in the other body – is quickly approaching this Friday. That, and the work to get all major appropriation and finance bills heard before the third deadline on April 4th means that committees are hearing a large number of bills, and often staying late into the night. The House and Senate continue to pass a number of stand-alone bills as well, including, free school lunch, which was signed into law to much fanfare last week.
Notably, one bill that was not passed was the Senate bonding bill, which uniquely requires a 60% supermajority, and therefore, a handful of Republican votes. The Senate showdown last week happened after the House was able to put together a capital investment bill, work with Republican leadership on funding projects important to them, and pass it off the House floor with 21 Republican votes (11 were necessary to pass in the House). In the Senate, the minority party made clear that they wanted to see the tax on social security fully eliminated and would not support the bonding bill until that change was made. DFL leadership decided to put the bill up on the Senate floor anyway and make the Republicans votes it down, which they promptly did. The Senate Democratic leadership has said they will come back with an “all cash” bonding bill that requires only a simple majority and that there may not be room for Republican projects. We will see how this standoff plays out as many EDAM members have impacted projects or otherwise have an interest in the outcome.
On a more positive note, EDAM’s top priority, HF 1920 / SF 2360 was heard in both the House and Senate Jobs and Economic Development Committees. The bill was well received and EDAM President Kati Bachmayer provided powerful testimony. The bill will be held over for possible inclusion in the House and Senate Jobs and Economic Development omnibus bills (larger committee bill). The Committees have heard a lot of proposals (many of which have fiscal notes), and the Jobs and Economic Development Committees typically get lower budget targets than some other more high profile committees. Expect omnibus bills to come out shortly after party leadership gives each Committee Chair their budget target.
The Day at the Capitol timing couldn’t have been better for raising the profile of both EDAM and the priority legislation. Participants did an excellent job promoting both EDAM as a go-to resource for Economic Development issues and highlighted the importance of the Redevelopment Program and the hearing that day. Some members have already been in contact either with their legislators to thank them and follow up, or have worked with our lobbyists, Sam Richie and Shannon Mitchell, to put together more complicated follow up information. Let us know if we can be helpful. Thanks to everyone who participated in a great day!