Senate Announces No Budget Targets

Senate Finance Chair Julie Rosen announced in committee this week that the Senate will not be having budget targets. Typically budget targets are formally adopted, and then all legislation with a fiscal impact that is passed must balance within the overall target. The lack of a budget target does not prohibit passage of any spending bills, but does indicate that the Senate does not intend to pass broad budget bills, in spite of a more than $9 billion budget surplus.

Unemployment Insurance Fix Stalls

In our very first Top Five of 2022, we highlighted two issues that had already risen to the top of nearly everyone’s list of priorities—replenishment of the unemployment trust fund and frontline worker pay. Those issues remain priorities, but the first gridlock of the session relates to whether or not they should be tied together or be passed on their own. The Senate has passed a bill to fully repay the trust fund, while via a letter sent on Thursday, House Speaker Melissa Hortman is insisting that the frontline worker pay issue be resolved prior to addressing the unemployment insurance issue.

ALS Research Grants

On Thursday, the Senate unanimously passed a bill that would provide $20 million for ALS research, and another $5 million for caregiver support programs. The bill’s sponsor, Sen. David Tomassoni, is struggling with ALS, and the Senate also used the bill’s passage as an opportunity to praise their colleague. The bill now awaits action in the House Higher Education committee.

Race for Congress is On

With the filing window closing next week, candidates for Congressional District 1 are coming into sharper focus following the death of Congressman Jim Hagedorn. While more than a dozen candidates have submitted their names to run so far, a few stand out. Former member of the Minnesota House Brad Finstad was among the first big names to announce, and has since released the names of prominent Republican backers. Current member of the Minnesota House Jeremy Munson is likely Finstad’s greatest competitor for the Republican nomination. Congressman Hagedorn’s widow, Jennifer Carnahan, has long been rumored to be running, but has yet to officially file for office. On the DFL side, Jeff Ettinger, formerly CEO of Hormel Foods Corp., may be the candidate to watch.

Birk for Lt. Governor

In the background of the legislative session, the 2022 race for Governor has continued at a fast clip. While there are no indications that Governor Tim Walz will have a significant challenge within his party, the many Republican candidates have continued travelling the state for conventions, forums and meetings with delegates. In most recent news, former Minnesota Viking Matt Birk was announced as Scott Jensen’s running mate.

March 11, 2022