Advocacy News | July 1, 2021

Happy Thursday and enjoy the long weekend! Shannon is out today, so you are getting the JP treatment for this Independence Day edition of the Public Affairs Newsletter. As we get back to in-person gatherings, I look forward to meeting you all in real life instead of making connections across a Zoom screen. As a bit of background, I joined the Chamber in January 2020, just in time to get locked in my apartment, so I'm excited for the full Chamber experience over the coming months and eager to connect with members face-to-face.

Enough about me, let's get to the news. As you've probably heard or read, the Legislature wrapped up its Special Session work, salvaging a budget, and avoiding a government shutdown (partial or otherwise.) The good news for the business community is that full federal tax conformity was included as part of the Tax Omnibus bill presented to Governor Walz. What that means to our members is that if you received a PPP loan that was forgiven, you won't have to pay state taxes on the federal money. That's the short and sweet answer. Shannon and I penned a Star Trib op-ed early in 2021 if you want to learn more. If you have other questions, please reach out to the PA Team.

The Chamber PA team is extremely grateful to our members who answered the call to action by contacting legislators regarding PPP conformity and lending your voices about the impact taxable PPP loans would've had on your businesses. Those contacts really do help. THANK YOU!

While the Special Session was not a pretty process, or a transparent process for that matter, I’ll end this Independence Day missive with the words of Winston Churchill (his mother was American), “Democracy is the worst system devised by wit of man, except for all the others.” 

John Perlich (JP)
Public Affairs Manager
Contact me at
Instead of another webinar presentation to watch, our members are invited to participate in a roundtable meeting around timely issues.

We're happy to announce three new issue forums. Registration is open, so click the graphics below to RSVP!
Legislative Highlights
Below are some highlights of issues the Chamber worked on that made it to the Governor's Desk. We'll be back with a special edition of the PA Newsletter for more in-depth reporting on the budget bills.

Omnibus Tax (SF 26/HF 9) - complete PPP tax conformity included! Full conformity removes approximately $750 million tax liability to businesses. Provides planning grants for ReConnect Rondo Land Bridge project.

Omnibus Higher Education (SF 18/HF 7)

Omnibus Education (SF 23/HF 2)

Omnibus Commerce (SF 19/HF 6)

Omnibus Jobs and Economic Development (SF 9/HF 1) - makes high school students eligible for UI benefits. Provides $150 million for main street revitalization and relief to businesses impacted by COVID-19 and unrest.

Omnibus Judiciary and Public Safety (SF 7/HF 63)

Omnibus Environment and Natural Resources (SF 20/HF 5)

Omnibus Transportation (SF 10/HF 10)

Omnibus Housing (SF 16/HF 4)

Omnibus State Government (SF 2/HF 12)

Omnibus Agriculture and Broadband (SF 25/HF 8)

Omnibus Legacy (SF 21/HF 13)

Omnibus Health and Human Services (SF 37/HF 33)

Budget approved, partial government shutdown avoided.

Governor Walz signed five omnibus budget bills last weekend (Legacy, Higher Education, Agriculture, Commerce-Energy, and Transportation.)

Is a second daily train from St. Paul to Chicago in our future?

Governor Walz and Legislature end executive emergency powers.

Community Office Hours - St. Paul Council President Brendmoen
Tuesday, July 6 4:00-5:30 pm
Walk-ins welcome
Call 651-266-8650 or email to schedule an appointment

Senate District 65 Virtual Town Hall - Senator Pappas, Representatives Mariani and Moran
Wednesday, July 7 6:00-7:30 pm
Join the conversation on Facebook Live

St. Paul Budget Roundtable - Mayor Melvin Carter's Office
Thursday, July 8 6:30 pm
Register here

Burnsville considers allowing property owners to earmark American Rescue Plan dollars. Take the ARP Community Input Survey.

Maplewood selects new public safety director to replace outgoing police Chief. Best wishes to Chief Nadeau on his retirement and congrats to Lt. Bierdeman on the promotion.

Ramsey County and the State Fair are still working through an agreement for public safety at the Great Minnesota Get-Together.

Speaking of the State Fair, here's a list of 27 new food options.

Woodbury and Washington County to pair social workers with police for emergency calls involving mental health and drug/alcohol crises.

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.

The Met Council in collaboration with the Citizens League and Twin Cities Innovation Alliance wants your input. Take the survey on Metro Transit Safety.

The State of Minnesota is always looking for individuals to serve on boards, councils, and commissions. View a list of current openings here.

Public comments for Met Council Draft 2022-25 Transportation Improvement Program are open until July 6. Read the plan and submit your comments.
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.

Elections in our footprint in 2021 that will be included in the Guide are: St. Paul Mayor and White Bear Lake Mayor, and city council races in Falcon Heights, Mahtomedi, St. Anthony Village, St. Paul Park, and White Bear Lake.

If you or someone you know is a candidate and would like to be included in the guide, contact John (JP) for a questionnaire.
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.
St. Paul Area Chamber