Spring Has Finally Sprung

Both the weather and the pace of the Legislature have spoken: it is officially spring. Lately, the throng of Capitol lobbyists have congregated around near-daily floor sessions and conference committees, with trips to food trucks for lunch in between. Legislators have begun to cloister themselves in closed-door meetings, making for a tricky time for advocates to get face time with decision-makers.

Paid Family & Medical Leave

After a lengthy, sometimes-heated debate stretching into Tuesday evening, the House officially passed its version of Paid Family & Medical Leave. Most notably, an author’s amendment was adopted that tightened the definition of family members for whom care would be allowed under the bill, and lowered the cap from 24 weeks to 18 weeks (except relating to pregnancy). The Senate is likely to vote on the bill early next week—and their version may incorporate additional changes desired by Minnesota’s large employers.

Conference Committees

Conference committees for most major omnibus finance bills have held meetings for bill walkthroughs—some adding time for final public testimony. While some committees have publicly met several times, most are conducting their business by trading offers behind closed doors, as is typical.

Worldwide Tax Reporting Draws Attention

A provision contained in the omnibus tax bill has drawn significant attention this week, as it would be the first of its kind in the nation. The provision for mandatory worldwide combined reporting would require businesses to file a tax return with the state covering all business they do internationally; they would then pay proportional taxes based on Minnesota’s single sales factor. Business groups have suggested the unique proposal would discourage foreign-owned corporations from doing business in the state and could effectively double-tax some.

An Early End to Session?

Rumor has it that the DFL trifecta has set a soft goal of adjourning for the 2023 session a few days early. After enduring several years of unfinished business stretching into special session, many Capitol observers will consider it a victory if the legislative session is over before the May 20th weekend. Less-controversial budget bills may find conference committee agreement as early as today, while larger and/or more contentious bills are not likely to pass until the final days of the session. If chairs’ negotiations stall, it’s possible that leadership will step in to make decisions in order to get bills across the finish line.

May 5, 2023