March 29 - 2019

"Second Deadline" is today - which means that Committees must act favorably on bills, or companions of bills, that met the first deadline in the other body, by midnight tonight. #MakeMORECoffee!

"Third Deadline" will be two weeks from today, on April 12 - meaning, committees must act favorably on major appropriation and finance bills by that date.  So, from this point forward, deadlines and late nights fall in the laps of the finance divisions, as they take over and finish putting their respective budget bills into final form. Immediately following 3rd Deadline, the legislature will take one week off for t he  Easter/Passover break and will return to work at 8 a.m. April 23. Final day of session is May 20th. 

Debates over key budget issues continue to rage on. Yous can read all about them in the blocks below.  

Interesting Factoid: According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Minnesota is the only state with a divided legislature in the 2019-20 biennium. The last time there was only one divided state legislature in the country was 1914.
Source >> 
House DFL Budget
The House DFL released their budget targets this week, proposing a state budget of $49.8 billion over the next two years. Budget targets are essentially the amount of general fund money each finance division is able to spend. Finance chairs still have the ability to determine exactly how that money is spent, though the DFLers did highlight some key spending priorities in their budget.

The House DFL budget proposing spending more than both Governor Walz's budget and the GOP Senate budget. Though many specifics still have yet to be decided, they did say this budget will include the Governor's proposed gas tax increase.

Senate GOP Budget
The Senate GOP also released their targets this week. Not surprisingly, they proposed spending less money than both the DFL House and Governor Walz - coming in at $47.6 billion for the state budget - and included no new gas taxes, or changes to income taxes. The Senate GOP is also willing to let the provider tax expire. As with the House, the details of what is getting funded will be flushed out more over the next two weeks as the budget divisions assemble their bills.

Meeting our MN Commissioners
The people appointed by the Governor to lead our state agencies can have a significant impact on the policies that are created and enforced in Minnesota. Sometimes these people fly under the radar. Whenever there is an opportunity, I will link to stories or interviews that give a glimpse into who some of these people are.

This week, we feature a story bout Department of Veterans Affairs Commissioner, Larry Herke.

Minnesota VA head from Mankato
Top Legislative News 
With so many hearings taking place this week there are MANY bills being discussed at the Capitol. Here are some that were in the news:


Just BEE Cause (see what I did there?)
Minnesota's buzzin' about bees 

Disaster Funding 

What's Next?

After today it is all about the MONEY, so for the most part, policy committees will stop meeting - except for any potential overview hearings or confirmation hearings in the Senate - and the attention will turn to finance committees.  

Budget committee chairs will start rolling out their finance bills and marking them up over the next two weeks.  The bills will then move on to the Finance Committee (Senate) and Ways and Means Committee (House).

Some spending bills will also head to the Tax Committee before heading to the floor for a full vote of the body.  Then we are in Conference Committee season!

Cap O'Rourke
President, O'Rourke Strategic Consulting 

Cap O'Rourke | (612) 483-1863 | |
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