By strong bipartisan votes, the House and Senate this week passed the Tax Corrections Bill which will impact 2023 taxes.  The Governor is expected to sign the bill quickly because taxpayers are already starting to file their returns. The bill corrects the 2023 tax law that inadvertently reduced the standard deduction amount for tax year 2024. The bill would set the tax year 2023 standard deduction at $27,650 for married joint or surviving spouse filers, $20,800 for head of household filers, and $13,825 for all other filers. The bill also modifies the definition of “Tribal Nation” in statewide local housing aid, and allows a 0.625% local sales and use tax authorization for Beltrami County approved by voters in November.


The House and Senate are both considering bills, H.F.  3489, Rep. Cedric Frazier (DFL-New Hope) / S.F. 3534, Sen. Bonnie Westlin (DFL-Plymouth), that would change a law, passed last year, that bars school workers and resource officers from restraining students in a way that limits their ability to breathe or voice their distress.  After this prohibition on restraints passed in 2023, dozens of police departments around Minnesota terminated or suspended school resource contracts with local school districts.  Law enforcement groups say the 2023 law needs to change before the school resource officers can return to schools while advocacy groups argue that the law should remain unchanged. DFL legislators are working with stakeholders and their Republican counterparts in an attempt to cobble together a compromise.  It is expected that this bill will come to floor votes within the next two weeks.


Rep. Steve Elkins (DFL-Bloomington) has been working on a bill to provide protections to consumer data collected by various entities for several years. While many acknowledge that a federal law applicable nationally is a preferred option, the lack of action at that level has led to more than a dozen states adopting a patchwork of state solutions. H.F. 2309, the Consumer Data Privacy Act, is Minnesota’s version, and is similar, but not identical to many of the other state models. The bill received its first hearing in the House Commerce Finance and Policy Committee on Wednesday. Following the adoption of a delete-all amendment to the original Consumer Data Privacy Act, the legislation largely exempts entities that fall under other data privacy laws, such a HIPAA, which governs health care related data, and the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, which primarily impacts the financial and insurance entities.


It is well-known that the Minnesota Legislature must adjourn by the Monday prior to Memorial Day, but less understood is that each two-year biennium is limited to a maximum of 120 legislative days. According to current law, a legislative day is any day that either the House of Representatives or the Senate meets for a floor session. In 2023, the legislature used 77 legislative days, leaving only 43 available in 2024. The limited number of legislative days remaining puts additional pressure on the legislature to efficiently move bills through the committee process.


Next week brings a couple significant events in Minnesota political circles. Tuesday, February 27, is precinct caucus day, where political party activists gather for local meetings to begin the process of organizing and preparing for the 2024 elections. These caucus-goers, who tend to be more partisan than the general electorate, will also be the ones to bestow party endorsements on candidates. The Presidential Primary Election will take place the following week, on Tuesday, March 5. Additionally, Minnesota Management and Budget will release the updated February Economic Forecast on Wednesday, February 28. The prior November forecast showed a temporary surplus of approximately $2.4 billion, but it disappeared by the end of the next budget cycle due to an imbalance with expenses anticipated to outpace revenue in future years. Wednesday’s economic forecast will be an important measure for legislators in determining if they have the ability to spend any money this session.


February 23, 2024