Legislative Break Begins
While much was happening at the Capitol this week, many legislators and lobbyists alike had one foot out the door in anticipation of the annual Easter/Passover break. This year’s break extends from Saturday, April 9 through Monday, April 18. The legislature will resume work on Tuesday, April 19. At that point, there will be approximately five weeks of session left.
Omnibus Bills Everywhere
Nearly every committee hearing this week focused on omnibus bills as each made its way through the legislative process. At this point, most omnibus bills have been passed out of the committee of jurisdiction, and many have also been heard in the Senate Finance committee. It is expected that in further meetings of the Senate Finance committee and the House Ways and Means committee, various bills will be combined.
What About Those Other Bills?
Neither the bonding bill (capital investment) nor tax bill has to abide by committee deadlines. The House has released a tax bill, but it hasn’t made its way to the floor yet. Meanwhile, the Senate passed a tax bill off the floor on Thursday, but was transparent about a second tax bill that would be presented and pass after the legislative break. It may be May before significant movement on bonding proposals occurs.
Omnibus bills provide a vehicle for a few odd provisions. The House State Government Finance omnibus bill includes a provision to retire Minnesota’s existing state seal and state flag, and establishes a commission to develop, design and recommend new designs. Not to be outdone, the Senate State Government Finance omnibus bill would make the giant beaver Minnesota’s official state fossil.
Governor Acts on Addiction, Opioid Epidemic
Throughout the legislative session, numerous hearings have been held on a proposal to create a Department of Behavioral Health, in order to put more emphasis on substance use disorder and mental health. Perhaps in response, Governor Tim Walz signed an Executive Order on Thursday to help address the massive addiction and opioid crisis. According to a press release put out by his office, new actions will include appointing “a new Addiction and Recovery Director to lead addiction and recovery work as well as direct [a new] subcabinet and advisory council.”
Note: With the Legislature on Easter/Passover break, there will be no Top 5 next week. We’ll see you back here on Friday, April 22!
April 8, 2022
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