Legislative Update 2019 Legislative Session Summary

Publish Date

The 2019 legislative session wrapped up early Saturday morning May 25th. With every legislative session having unique characteristics, the end of this session was one that drew few similarities to the ending of any other session. Minnesota was the only divided legislature in the country, yet, Governor Walz pushed for his One Minnesota pledge in working with the House to put together a budget that will improve the lives of all Minnesotans. This budget invests in the things Minnesotans care about including education, health care, and community prosperity. However, the divided legislature left many things cut out of budget bills as well.

The Senate heard very few bills in comparison to the House and put fourth an initial budget that would have resulted in hundreds of MAPE jobs lost, significant changes to our collective bargaining agreement approval process, cuts to education, and increases to health care and prescription costs. The Senate also left the bonding bill on the table at the end of the session. Some notable items included in the legislature’s final budget that has been sent to the governor include:

PUBLIC SAFETY

  • Funding for 67 Corrections Officers this biennium and 78 next biennium
  • Additional forensic scientists
  • Operating budget increases for agencies including Human Rights, Public Safety and Corrections
  • 6 positions to establish the ombudsperson’s office for the DOC
  • No additional staffing funds for probation were included
  • Changes to the administrative and disciplinary segregation policies
  • No language banning private prisons passed
  • Felon voting rights language was not included in the final bill

HEALTH and HUMAN SERVICES

  • Health care access for 1.2 million Minnesotans by continuing the provider tax in perpetuity 
  • Operating budget increases across DHS, MDH, and health-related boards
  • The Alex Smith Act providing emergency access to insulin was excluded from the bill
  • One Care health care coverage did not pass
  • Language establishing a new Blue Ribbon Council tasked with finding $100 million is savings and efficiencies passed

EDUCATION and HIGHER ED

  • Increasing funding for E-12 and higher education, including an increase in the E-12 funding formula, preserving 4,000 pre-K slots, and freezing the special education cross subsidy
  • Operating budget increase for the Department of Education, Higher Ed, MNSTATE and all other agencies under these budgets
  • Increases the state grant program providing more financial aid for student from low-income, working, and middle-class backgrounds

JOBS and ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

  • The strongest wage theft prevention and enforcement measures in the country including stronger language around record retention, felony theft, workplace access, Attorney General prosecution authority and prevention of retaliation
  • No Paid Family and Medical Leave funding
  • Operating budgets for all agencies including DEED and Commerce
  • No additional funding for the Public Employee Relations Board to begin hearing claims of unfair labor practice

STATE GOVERNMENT

  • A new requirement for the SER to receive agency comparisons for MAPE contract costs versus the previous contract cost
  • $10 million for cybersecurity enhancements across state government
  • $3.32 million for the Office of the Secretary of State, of which, $2 million would be for election equipment grants
  • Operating adjustments for all agencies that were budgeted for an operating increase
  • Authorization for the state to accept $6.6 million in federal Help America Vote Act funds strengthen the state's election security efforts
  • No state employee cap across all agencies
  • No changes to the Subcommittee on Employee Relations process for approving the MAPE contract
  • No MNIT outsourcing

TAXES

  • Makes conforming changes that resulted from federal tax legislation. A summary can be found here: https://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/comm/docs/8815a639-3866-45c5-9958-faf8fcb588f7.pdf
  • Cuts .25% of the second-tier income tax rate (first income tax cut since 2000)
  • Increases the social security tax subtraction and expands the working family tax credit
  • This budget invests in $30 million in programs per year to help local governments pay for vital needs, like local roads and public safety.

PENSIONS

  • Increases the employee contribution rates for Individual Retirement Account Plan (IRAP) participants at MnState to comply with federal tax law concerning government-sponsored Cash or Deferred Arrangement (CODA) options.
    • Members enrolled in IRAP prior to July 1, 2018 will see their contribution rates increase 0.65% each year over the next 5 years until it matches the TRA contribution rate.
    • Members enrolled in IRAP after July 1, 2018 will have their rates match the TRA contribution rates immediately.
  • Employer contribution increases for IRAP participants were initially included in the bill but were stripped out last minute during the Special Session.

ENVIRONMENT and NATURAL RESOURCES​​​​​​​

  • Operating adjustments for DNR, MPCA, BWSR, and other environmental agencies and boards