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Legislative Update: May 15, 2017

Posted By Administration, Monday, May 15, 2017

Good News/Bad News As Conference Committee Wraps Up

The Joint House/Senate Jobs Conference Committee concluded its work last Tuesday morning, passing a bill that will be sent to the floor of both legislative bodies for a final vote. It’s expected to pass both the House and Senate (which are led by Republican majorities) and will be sent to Governor Dayton for his signature or veto.

That’s the good news. The bad news is that last Monday, negotiations between legislative leaders and the governor broke down, and the conference committee passed this bill (and several others) without an agreement with the governor’s office, so they are likely to be vetoed. As of Friday, when he headed to St. Cloud for the 70th¬†annual Governor’s Fishing Opener, Gov. Dayton had already begun vetoing some of the bills sent his way without an overall agreement.

The jobs bill itself featured numbers slightly better than what was under consideration by the conference committee last week.

View the full spreadsheet.

The House and Senate have no funding included for the Redevelopment Grant Program. Some key positive funding numbers in the bill include:

  • On Line 71 the Minnesota Investment Fund receives $25 million for the biennium ($1 million more than the initial spreadsheet).
  • On Line 74 the Job Creation Fund receives $16 million for the biennium ($1 million more than the initial spreadsheet).
  • On Line 156 the Border to Border Broadband Grant Program receives $15 million for the biennium. (no change)
  • On Line 157 the Broadband Development Office receives $500,000 for the biennium. (no change)
  • On Line 223 the Broadband Development Office receives $200,000 for the biennium. (no change)

We will continue to update if/when the jobs bill gets to the governor’s desk.

Countdown To Adjournment Is On

The constitutional deadline for adjournment of the legislative session is at Midnight of Monday, May 22, which means the legislative leaders and Gov. Mark Dayton have entered into the make-or-break phase of their budget negotiations. Republican leaders in the House and the Senate agreed to a joint budget proposal last week and have been working with Gov. Dayton to construct a two-year state budget that would take effect on July 1, 2017. If no budget is put in place by that date there will be a government shutdown.

Speaker of the House Kurt Daudt (R-Crown), Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka (R-Nisswa) and Gov. Dayton have made public statements recently expressing the willingness to compromise on their respective positions, but much public venting has taken place over the lack of an agreed-upon process for negotiations and all sides are expressing frustration over the perceived lack of movement from the others. The House and Senate moved forward this week by passing their negotiated omnibus bills related to certain areas of the state budget. As of this week the House and Senate have passed their omnibus Agriculture, Education, Environment and Natural Resources, and State Government bills and sent them to the governor, who has pledged a veto for all bills in which his position was not adequately accounted.

More Cars on the Road to 2018

The legislative session is attracting a lot of the focus of capitol reporters and others, but there are still a number of public figures with their eyes set on 2018. With Gov. Dayton already declaring he will not seek re-election, both parties are keen to win the seat next year. Former gubernatorial candidate Jeff Johnson, a Hennepin County commissioner, has announced he will seek the Republican endorsement for governor in 2018. He joins State Representative Matt Dean (R-Dellwood) as the only other notable Republican to announce their campaign for governor. There will surely be more announcements following the adjournment of session, when other local officials will run for congressional seats or other offices.

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