“The State of our State is Strong”

Governor Tim Walz delivered his annual State of the State address to legislators from the House chamber this week. He highlighted common themes from DFL leadership this session, including a focus on early childhood support programs, education, free school lunches, and a renewed push for gun legislation, while calling out key differences between Minnesota and other states like Florida.

Omnibus Bills from Floor to Conference

Most omnibus finance and policy bills have passed off of the floor in at least one chamber. The few remaining—with the exception of the expansive tax bill—will be passed by both chambers by early next week. Conference committees have begun to be appointed for a few bills, and should start to convene next week. Leadership has put forth a non-binding goal of conference committee agreement by Friday, May 5. After that point, leadership may step in to resolve any remaining points of contention for each bill in negotiations. This could last about two additional weeks, allowing for a few days toward the end of May for bills to be re-passed by each chamber.


The bill to legalize adult-use recreational cannabis will come up for a vote in the House on Monday, followed by a vote in the Senate on Friday. A great many aspects of the bill, including the tax and licensure structure, have changed throughout the committee process. A high-profile conference committee is expected to convene as soon as possible to make significant changes to the final language.

Paid Family and Medical Leave

Legislation to create a state-administered paid family and medical leave program has progressed through the legislative process, with just one final committee stop in House Ways & Means and Senate Finance before it comes for a vote. The business community continues to express concerns about the current language, suggesting that many employees who already enjoy generous paid leave policies may lose out on those benefits when their employers are unable to opt out of the state-run program, and raising questions about the expense and solvency of the program. If passed as written, Minnesota’s paid family and medical leave program would be the most expansive of its kind in the country.

Gun Safety Legislation?

While recent tragedies have put the spotlight on state legislatures to take action on gun safety, bills have appeared to take a backseat to other issues this session. Various proposals, including one that would institute a “red flag” system for gun owners and another that would close a background check requirement loophole, were included in the House omnibus Public Safety bill but not in the Senate’s version. It remains to be seen whether the Legislature will bring any such provisions up for a vote this session, or wait until next year.

April 21, 2023