Joint Budget Targets

Late last Friday, Governor Tim Walz, along with leaders of the Minnesota House and Senate, agreed to modest joint budget targets for supplemental budget bills. The targets would allow for spending $477.5 million in the current 2024/25 budget, and $62.7 million in future years. Starting with a $3.7 billion projected budget surplus in fiscal years 2024/25, the agreed to targets will leave an anticipated $3.2 billion on the bottom line heading in to next year’s budgeting session. With the policy deadline behind us, committees are already getting to work hearing limited spending bills.

State of the State

On March 26, Governor Tim Walz gave the annual State of the State address from the newly-constructed Owatonna High School. Generally speaking, his comments were considered typical fare for the Democratic Governor heading into an election season, with a focus on education, reproductive rights, and gun violence prevention, along with capital investment projects, affordable housing, and labor issues. (Note: Governor Walz won’t be on the ballot this year, but the entire Minnesota House of Representatives will be.)

State of the Session

Beginning at 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 27, the legislature began the first of three short breaks scheduled for this year. Official legislative activity will be paused until noon on Tuesday, April 2, when both the House and Senate will meet in floor session. The legislature will also take short breaks from 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, April 9, until noon on Thursday, April 11 (Eid), and from Monday, April 22, until activity resumes at noon on Wednesday, April 24 (Passover).

Cannabis Changes Advance

The new Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) released the first agency recommendations (H.F. 4757 – Rep. Zack Stephenson, DFL-Coon Rapids / S.F. 4782 – Sen. Lindsey Port, DFL-Burnsville) to the new adult use cannabis law passed in the 2023 legislative session. Among key components of the recommendations are unifying the medical and adult use supply chains and moving from a point-based merit licensing system to a vetted lottery system. The agency bill has become a cannabis omnibus bill, and has several committee stops, and likely many language iterations, yet to come.

House and Senate Move Worker Misclassification Bill

Representative Emma Greenman (DFL-Minneapolis) and Senator Clare Oumou Verbeten (DFL-St. Paul) have authored H.F. 4444/S.F. 4483, a bill that would amend labor, construction, and licensing statutes to strengthen worker misclassification laws. H.F. 4444/S.F. 4483 will be heard in the Senate and House Tax Committees after the Easter legislative break, and the bill seems to be on a trajectory to pass into law before the legislative session adjourns in May.

March 29, 2024