The Minnesota Legislature has adjourned sine die, and for many, it feels that is all that was accomplished this year. In spite of a global framework being agreed to—$4 billion each for taxes, spending and carry-forward—the details of a deal remained elusive. Compromise was reached for the tax bill and several of the spending bills. But no agreement could be found on the key issues of education, public safety and health and human services. Without those bills in queue, House leadership refused to bring up the tax bill, and the Senate held back on final passage of several spending bills.
Special Session in the Air?
In spite of Minnesota having had at least one special session in eight of the last ten years, the reality of whether or not a special session will happen this year is far from certain. For virtually the entirety of this year’s session, both House leadership and the Governor have insisted that there would be no special session. Now that session has ended without the major bills passing, House leadership and Governor Walz are encouraging a hesitant Senate to return for an epilogue. As time passes, it becomes less likely this will occur.
Perhaps surprisingly, one issue that made it through the legislative juggernaut was an update to Minnesota’s liquor laws (S.F. 3008). For the past several years, Minnesota’s largest breweries sought changes to allow onsite growler sales, which are now permissible in all breweries in Minnesota thanks to the new law. Similarly, craft distilleries will be permitted to sell 750-milliliter bottles directly to consumers.
Hundreds of Pages of Policy
While harmony couldn’t be found in how to spend $1 billion across the health and human services budget sectors, hundreds of pages of agreed-upon policy language was amended onto a bill (H.F. 4065) and approved by the legislature in the waning hours of session. Additionally, a mental health “minibus” bill (H.F. 2725) was the last bill approved by the House and sent to Governor Walz. That bill also includes funding for increased mental health services and related programs.
The only budget jurisdiction that was approved by both the House and Senate was a joint Agriculture and Broadband bill (H.F. 3420). Notably, more than $110 million in state and federal funding was allocated for the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development’s (DEED) broadband program.
If there is no special session called, the Legislature will reconvene for its next legislative session on January 3, 2023.
May 24, 2022
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