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What is happening at the Capitol
Conference committee members have been selected to reconcile the House and the Senate versions of the mega supplemental budget omnibus bills into a single omnibus bill to send to the Governor. Normally, the E-12 education omnibus bill would travel alone. Now, it is combined with the other eight areas of government. Thus, the members of the conference committees are the chairs or the minority leads from the many committees that produced the combined supplemental omnibus bills. Chair Jenifer Loon from the House Education Finance
Committee is on the conference committee and is the only E-12 education chair. Chairing the conference committee are the powerful chairs of the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee. These committees, in consultation with leadership, are responsible for setting the budget targets.
The House and Senate must agree on a single target for each area of government for the conference committee to get to work on the finance provisions. Currently, the House spends $55 million on E-12 education ($30 million in the E-12 education budget and $25 million in the bonding bill). The Senate spends $20 million. The Governor wants to spend $177 million. See the SEE side by side summary and other information on the bills here.
The Governor has been clear that he does not want to see any policy provisions in the budget bill. However, all the policy provisions are included in the supplemental budget omnibus bills and many of these provisions are not supported by the Governor.
With the clock ticking, the conference committee needs to get the supplemental budget omnibus bill wrapped up and sent to the Governor, which will very likely be vetoed. Then, the legislative leaders and the Governor must negotiate budget targets and policy provisions, overcoming the many differences between the Republican controlled Legislature and the DFL Governor. That is a lot to get done in just 10 days.
SF3656/HF4238 Supplemental Budget Bill Conference Committee Members
Senate Members: Chair Julie Rosen (R-Vernon Center) Chair of the Finance Committee
Sen. Michelle Benson (R-Ham Lake) Chair of the Health and Human Services Finance and Policy Committee
Sen. Scott Newman (R-Hutchinson) Chair of the Transportation Finance and Policy Committee
Sen. Warren Limmer (R-Maple Grove) Chair of the Judiciary and Public Safety Finance and Policy Committee
Sen. Mary Kiffmeyer (R-Big Lake) Chair of the State Government Finance and Policy and Elections Committee
Chair Jim Knoblach (R-St. Cloud) Chair of the Ways and Means
Rep. Pat Garofalo (R-Farmington) Chair of the Job Growith and Energy Affordability Policy and Finance Committee
Rep. Jenifer Loon (R-Eden Prairie) Chair of the Eduction Finance Committee
Rep. Gene Pelowski (DFL-Winona) DFL Lead of the Higher Education and Career Readiness Policy and Finance Committee
Paul Torkelson (R-Hanska) Chair of the Transportation Finance Committee
As always, see Brad's Blog for more detailed information on what is happening at the Capitol.
The House is finally moving on the pension bill (SF2620). This pension bill passed in the Senate back in early April on a 66-0 vote. The bill is scheduled today in the House State Government Finance Committee. If the House passes it out of committee and off the House floor without adding any amendments, the Governor will sign it. It's a good bill that will go a long way in stabilizing the pensions of state employees including the teachers' retirement plan (TRA). SEE strongly supports the bill as the state pays the increases in the employer's contribution instead of passing that cost to the school districts. Last year the Governor vetoed the pension bill as the legislature attached two policy provisions guaranteed to draw a veto. Hopefully, the House will resist this temptation and send a clean bill to the Governor. Pension bill information. Note: The House is considering the Senate version of the pension bill. If left unchanged, the bill can go directly to the Governor and avoid a conference committee to work out differences.
If you have any questions or comments, please don't hesitate to contact me.
Schools for Equity in Education
Director of Communications and Community Outreach