Leadership Releases Global Budget Targets

On Tuesday, the Governor, House Speaker, and Senate Majority Leader announced they had reached an agreement on global budget targets, adding up to $71.9 million in spending for the biennium. Chairs of each finance committee now have specific dollar amounts that their finance bills must add up to, and they will work over the weekend to craft omnibus bills.

What Happens Next?

In most sessions in recent memory, leadership would not agree to such targets until late in session, resulting in omnibus budget bills of varying sizes in either body. This historic, early agreement could allow House and Senate Chairs to craft omnibus bills that more closely match one another, potentially cutting down the time that must be spent in conference committee and leadership negotiations toward the end of session. Omnibus bills must be finished by the end of the day on April 4, when the Legislature recesses for about a week for spring break.

House Commerce Hears Bill to Increase Consumer Protections

The House Commerce committee this week heard a bill (H.F. 2823) backed by state Attorney General Keith Ellison’s office and authored by Rep. Liz Lee (DFL-Saint Paul) that would broaden the definition of consumer fraud to include practices deemed “unfair” or “unconscionable”, among others. While Minnesota is one of just six states that do not have such provisions in place, the bill’s detractors noted the language is not specific enough to allow businesses to ensure they are complying with the law.

Paid Family & Medical Leave Resumes its March

The Senate Jobs & Economic Development Committee heard Sen. Alice Mann’s (DFL-Burnsville) bill (S.F. 2) to require employers of a certain size to provide 24 weeks of paid family and medical leave to all employees. Several minor amendments were adopted. The bill must be heard in several more committees between both chambers before it will have a floor vote.

Gun Safety Legislation Clears Committee Hurdle

This week, a lengthy hearing of the Senate Judiciary committee saw three bills relating to gun safety approved and referred to the Finance committee. The bills would close a background check requirement loophole for certain gun purchases; institute a “red flag” system to keep guns out of the hands of those who have been identified as a danger to themselves or others; and increase penalties for possession of machine guns. So far, the House has approved the first two bills and is not expected to act on the machine gun legislation.

Bonus: Key Dates

  • Friday, March 24: second legislative deadline, by which bills that met the 3/10 deadline in one body must be acted upon by the other body
  • Tuesday, April 4, 5 pm: third legislative deadline, by which major finance bills must be passed out of committee
  • Tuesday, April 4, 5 pm: legislative break begins
  • Tuesday, April 11: legislature returns from break

March 24, 2023