Advocacy News | February 18, 2021

Budget years always shine a little extra light on how the different levels of government work together (or not) to create our (mostly) functioning system. Who pays for what and where the dollars come from has always been a subject of debate. And the ongoing discussions of coronavirus response stimulus packages serve as a reminder that unlike the federal government, the state can't just print money -- the yearly ins and outs have to balance.

Minnesotans are used to having this discussion when talking about normal budget expenditures like education and local government assistance. But this year we're seeing the debate play out in a more specific way -- everything from who pays for salary costs when police departments pitch in, to who's on the hook for maintaining transit infrastructure.

In a lot of ways, it's good that these discussions are more material and less theoretical - - it's way easier for "normal" Minnesotans to understand that these decisions aren't easy and have a very specific impact.

Your PA team is keeping an eye on bills and weighing in when the business community will be impacted. If your piece of the puzzle is in question, let us know.

Shannon Watson
Vice President of Public Affairs
Follow me on Twitter @Shannon_SPACC
We regularly get calls from reporters looking for businesses to comment on a wide set of issues. To make those interactions easier and quicker we keep a list of member company media contacts and areas of expertise. If your company is willing to speak to media on the record, email Shannon and she'll add you to the list.

Who pays for public safety during the Chauvin trial is dividing the legislature, and not just on party lines.

According to the 179-page bill, legalizing recreational marijuana has a lot of touchpoints in and out of state law. It passed its first committee vote this week.

Governor gives the green light for more schools to open in-person classes.
Each week we'll highlight a few bills at the legislature that have caught our attention. Being included in this list just means we're watching them -- it does not indicate approval or opposition. ("Retweets =/= endorsement.") Language from the bill title is listed, analysis from Chamber PA staff is in brackets.

HF1122 / SF938 providing for the election of Metropolitan Council members
[Election vs appointment of Met Council has been a topic of conversation since the organization was created by the legislature in 1967.]

HF1113 / SF445 providing uniformity for employment mandates on private employers
[Welcome back, yearly preemption bill.]

HF1027 / SF957 establishing the governor's budget for transportation and public safety activities; modifying various provisions governing transportation and public safety policy and finance
[One policy provision in this bill would change the way some capital and operating costs for transit projects are shared by the Met Council and local governments. Expect to hear more about this as the session moves along.]
Supporting our members' own advocacy at the Capitol and in City Halls across the East Metro. If you have an issue you’re working on and would like support from the Chamber, contact Shannon to discuss the options. From committee testimony, to letters of support, to meetings with elected officials, we're here to support you and champion an economically vibrant business community. Especially if you do not have in-house government relations staff or contract lobbyists to move your issues, our public affairs team can be a powerful ally and a valuable benefit of membership.
Public Policy Conversations are back for 2021, with a focus on east metro legislators. These meetings will be held via Zoom, with an opportunity for our members to participate live. To be invited to the meeting, complete the form and we'll add you to the calendar invitation. (Invitations close at noon the business day prior, so get your request in early.)
Representative Jay Xiong
February 22, noon-12:30 pm
Representative Steve Sandell
February 26, 10:00-10:30 am
Representative Jon Koznick
March 1, 1:00-1:30 pm
Representative Kelly Moller
March 2, 1:00-1:30 pm
Senator Roger Chamberlain
March 3, 11:00-11:30 am
Senator Karla Bigham
March 8, 5:30-6:00 pm
Representative Pat Garofalo
March 9, noon-12:30 pm
Senator Foung Hawj
March 16, noon-12:30 pm
Representative John Huot
March 23, noon-12:30 pm
Representative Tony Jurgens
March 23 1:00-1:30 pm
Senator Mary Kunesh
April 13 11:30 am - noon
Representative Don Raleigh
April 19 8:00-8:30 am
Instead of another webinar presentation to watch, our members are invited to participate in a roundtable meeting around a timely issue.

Issue Forum on Businesses & Public Safety
Join our panel of east metro police departments' leadership to talk about things you can do to keep your business and your employees safe.
Wednesday, March 3 1:00-2:00 pm

Issue Forum on Business Taxes & Remote Work
If you have employees working remotely, what happens when they change physical locations? Different states have different laws which can affect your business and the taxes you owe. Join our tax experts to talk about what you should know.
The date of this meeting hasn't been finalized, but will be soon! If you're interested in the topic, fill out the form and we'll communicate details asap.

Landlords sue the city of St. Paul over tenant screening and lease laws.

Lakeville is seeing a commercial building boom, a new apartment project was approved in South St. Paul, and Arden Hills is getting a new senior living facility. Meanwhile, a developer in St. Paul will appeal a planning commission denial to the city council.

Suspended Inver Grove Heights city administrator and city work out a separation agreement.

District 51 Town Hall - Sen. Jim Carlson, Rep. Sandra Masin, and Rep. Liz Reyer
Saturday, February 20 10:30-11:30 am
Register here to join the meeting on Zoom

District 52 Town Hall - Sen. Matt Klein, Rep. Ruth Richardson, and Rep. Rick Hansen
Sunday, February 21 at noon
RSVP to Amanda to receive the Zoom credentials

West St. Paul Virtual Town Hall Meeting
Wednesday, February 24 6:00-8:00 pm
Join the meeting at
or watch on local cable channel 18 (English) and channel 21 (Spanish)

Virtual Coffee with Ramsey County Commissioner Nicole Joy Frethem
Friday, February 26 10:00-11:00 am
Learn more on the Facebook invitation
Thank you to the following companies supporting public affairs initiatives and programming in 2021!
Want to see your logo here? It's not too late! Contact Shannon.
St. Paul Area Chamber