Legislative Update

Publish Date

May 22, 2019: While many of the budgets are wrapping up, it is looking more and more like a special session may not take place until Friday. 

The one bill that has finished up is Higher Education. Minnesota State gets its funding raised by $81.5 million. That includes a general “campus investments” appropriation increase of $64.5 million, as well as $8 million to upgrade its ISRS system for administering finances, aid, housing, human resources and other school functions, and $7 million in new funding for workforce development scholarships.

The U of M received $43.5 million funding increase. 

The House proposals to fund a tuition freeze did not make the final bill. Tuition increases are capped at 3% each of the next two years. 

May 21, 2019: At midnight last evening, the 2019 Legislative Session adjourned. Despite having a budget deal a little more than 24 hours earlier and directions to wrap up all conference committees by 5:00 p.m Monday, much of the work still remains. Of the significant budget bills needing to be completed, only the Higher Education conference committee report has passed both the House and Senate and is on its way to the governor. The Agriculture conference committee report was passed by the Senate, but the House ran out of time to pass the report.

Up next will be a special session. Leadership anticipated having a one day special session on Thursday of this week. However, there is still major disagreements to iron out and a significant amount of work to be completed leaving speculation surrounding whether everything can be finished on Thursday or if circumstances will drag it out into the holiday weekend. For now, the conference committees will become work groups that spend time hashing out their differences, some with leadership assistance, until a final agreement can be reached and special session is called by the governor. Don’t expect a special session without a complete agreement from all parties involved.

The good news so far is that many budget bills seem to be making progress towards obtaining their operating budget increases covering inflation and other anticipated expense increase for the next biennium.

We will continue to keep everyone updated as things begin to wrap up at the Capitol.

Sunday evening, May 19, 2019: The legislature and governor reached a final budget agreement. While budget targets and major funding have been agreed upon, conference committees will push through the night and all day Monday to wrap up. A one day special session is expected to be called this Thursday to wrap up the 2019 session. 

MAPE will continue to release details as they are agreed upon until the sessions ends and all bills are passed. 

Global Committee and Conference Committee Framework:

In addition to the global targets agreed to by the Governor, Speaker of the House, and Senate Majority Leader the following will be included in the final agreement:

$59.51 million for Broadband, Agriculture and Housing: $40 million for broadband in FY20/21 only. $4.51 million in FY20/21 and $3.9 million in FY22/23 for agriculture.$15 million in FY20/21 and $10 million in FY22/23 for housing.

$540 million for E-12 Education: General education formula increase of two percent and two percent. Tribal Contract School Funding $3.536 million in FY20/21 and $4.670 million in FY22/23.

$10 million for Economic Development: $11 million in revenue from unclaimed property in FY20/21 and $22 million in FY22/23.

$13.78 million for Environment: Funding to address chronic waste disease and Aquatic Invasive Species to protect our lakes and waterways.

- $357.85 million for Health and Human Services: Increased spending offset by Healthcare Access Fund (HCAF) resources of $270 million inFY20/21 and $514 million in FY22/23 and $142 million from the Premium Security Account inFY20/21. All savings need to be substantiated  and based on sound assumptions or backed by contingent appropriations. No reduction to Department of Health funding in HCAF. Creation of Blue Ribbon Council to identify $100 million in savings in FY22/23 and provide recommendations for legislative action. Any savings not implemented by the legislature willbe backfilled by a contingent transfer from the budget reserve.

$150 million for Higher Education

$125 million for Public Safety

$63.37 million for State Government: $20 million for cyber security funding. Funding increase for Minneapolis Employees Retirement Fund (MERF) moved to tax bill. Base for MERF retained in state government target.

$93.45 million for Transportation: Funding for Metro Mobility and Deputy Registrar reimbursement. $55.67 million for the MnLARS replacement system; and fees for DVSstaffing and systems maintenance and operation.

Taxes: Zero target in tax bill FY20/21 and FY22/23. Include $20 million for MERF per biennium. Middle class tax cuts of .25 to the second tier rate starting in tax year 2019 and reduction ofthe CI levy (Senate proposal). House Chair and Commissioner negotiate an equivalentamount of general fund tax expenditures and spending.

Bonding: Debt service for $440 million General Obligation Bonds.Debt service for $60 million Housing Infrastructure Bonds.

$30.85 million for Vulnerable Adults

Other Agreements

  • $491.367 million from the budget reserve in FY22/23.
  • No savings that cannot be substantiated.
  • 1.8% Health Care Provider Tax effective for gross revenues received after December 31, 2019. No carve out, all categories, no sunset.
  • Reinsurance for two additional plan years.

May 18, 2019: While leadership and the governor spent less time negotiating an end to the session today than previous days, the Senate took some budget steps in passing a “lights on bill." They have used the inflationary increases in previous years to message this as a budget increase for Minnesotans. However, the Senate’s budget ends all one-time spending from previous budget bills. As a result, the Senate’s budget cuts:

  • Doesn’t fund K-12, jeopardizing more increases in property taxes
  • Doesn’t address prescription drug pricing and guarantees that the Alec Smith Emergency Insulin Assistance Program won’t pass
  • Reduces prison staffing by 78 FTE’s
  • Fails to update Minnesota tax code
  • Fails to utilize $150 million in Trunk Highway Funds for road construction
  • Ignores the recommendation to replace MNLARS
  • Leaves $6.5 million in election security federal funding sitting on the table
  • Would result in tuition increases at our colleges and universities
  • Eliminates special education funding and severely cuts early education opportunities
  • Provides no guarantee to properly fund agencies operating budgets resulting in significant job loss

Negotiations ended early Saturday night and is slated to start Sunday afternoon. 

May 15, 2019: The 2019 legislative session has come to a screeching halt while Minnesota awaits the results of negotiations between the Governor, the Senate Majority Leader and the Speaker of the House. For the better part of 24 hours, leadership has been behind closed doors negotiating an end to the legislative session. No press interviews have been granted and no new information has come out on social media. Today is the day bills need to start making their way to the revisor’s office in order to be reviewed and brought to the floor for a vote before the adjournment deadline. While most conference committees have walked through their budgets and bill language, very few agreements have been reached leaving agencies unfunded up to this point.

We think it's fair to say that that we are within a 24-hour window period to start getting work done before it will require a special session. The only way to avoid a special session if things don’t start to move would be to eliminate some of the public meeting time and transparency to the end of session.

Stay tuned to MAPE’s website for updates throughout the rest of the week and this coming weekend.

One month remains in the 2019 legislative session  As the 2019 legislature reaches the end of the Easter break, we will be one month out from the scheduled adjournment date and miles apart in budget bills. MAPE continues to have significant concerns with the Senate’s budget bills. Some of the current standing bills include:

State Government  
The Senate provides no operating adjustment to the agencies and boards within its jurisdiction and includes seven to 10 percent cuts that would result in hundreds of positions being eliminated. They cap the number of state employees in all agencies at the June 30, 2019 number. The Senate also outsources a significant amount of IT work and changes the Subcommittee on Employee Relations requirement needing a vote of both legislative bodies to put a bargaining agreement into effect between legislative sessions. The House bill provides operating adjustments to the agencies in its jurisdiction and includes legislation making state employees whole upon returning from a state government shutdown.

Jobs and Economic Development
The House includes funding for the Public Employee Labor Relation Board (PERB) to hear claims of unfair labor practices. The Senate provides no funding for PERB. Both legislative bodies provide operating adjustments with the exception of Commerce in the House. The Paid Family Leave bill, Sick and Safe Time, and Wage Theft bill provisions are also included in the House omnibus bill.

Public Safety Finance
The House provides operating adjustments in all areas while the Senate either shorts agencies their full request or doesn’t provide any funding. The House includes a provision banning all private prisons in Minnesota, adds funding for the Department of Corrections integrated case management system, adds additional funding for intensive and regular probation agents, provides some funding for additional mental health staffing and includes additional staff to complement the Department’s staffing study. The House provides funding for 110 security staff while the Senate provides some funding, its bill primarily ignores critical functions and security by cutting nearly 200 additional FTEs each of the next two years jeopardizing security and necessary programming to deliver services expected by Minnesotans. Furthermore, the Senate’s budget largely ignores the ongoing needs of provided community services, the needs of the Minnesota Department of Human Rights and the Bureau or Criminal Apprehension.

Higher Education
The House funds the agency and a two-year tuition freeze for MNState. The Senate allows for a two percent tuition increase each year of the biennium but blocks any additional fee increases to cover cost shortfalls. In addition, the Senate’s bill requires MNState to cut 10 percent of its budget without prescribing the type of cuts. The bill also provides no operating adjustment for the Office of Higher Education. The Senate’s funding leaves MNState

$242 million short of its original budget request and $142 million short of an implementation of a tuition freeze.

Environment and Natural Resources
While the House provides operating adjustments to the agencies within its jurisdiction, the Senate does not. In fact, the Senate provides cuts to all agencies, including PCA and DNR, of up to 15 percent in the jurisdiction of its committee. DNR’s cut to their General Fund budget is over $30 million.

Health and Human Services
The Health and Human Services operating budget is cut by 10 percent in the Senate and funded with most of its operating budget in the House. MnSure is cut by 25 percent in the Senate.

The Transportation omnibus bill in the House includes does not include operating adjustments but raises the gas tax  by 20 cents per gallon. The Senate does not include those provisions, and significantly cuts Transportation’s general funding by over 25 percent.

Capital Investment
The House bill includes:
- $150 million for MN State Higher Education Asset Preservation and Retention
- $5 million for Perpich Center Asset Preservation
- $120 million for DNR projects
- $20 million for Department of Agriculture lab building improvements
- $25 million for the Minnesota Zoo
- $18 million for MSOP St. Peter - Phase 2
- $41 million for Corrections projects and asset preservation

Other agencies
The general standard at this point is that the House has almost unilaterally included operating adjustments in their finance omnibus bills where the Senate has not. Many of the Senate budget bills contain language that eliminates vacant positions that have been vacant for more than 180 days. This could eliminate positions that have been vacant for an employee on military leave or for an employee who has suffered an unfortunate medical set back that required a longer leave.

Tuesday, April 9: Paid Family leave, H.F. 5, will be heard in the House Ways and Means committee in room 200 of the State Office Building at 12:30 p.m.

The legislature is beginning to introduce all of their omnibus budget bills. This means that both the House and Senate will pass budget bills and then attempt to re o coke into one agreeable budget bill in each legislative division. MAPE will provide a more co prehensile update in the days to come when all bill are introduced. 

Canceled - Paid Family Leave, H.F. 5, is scheduled for a hearing this Wednesday at 8:00 a.m. in the House Taxes Committee. The meeting will take place in room 5 of the State Office Building.

Monday, April 1: Paid Family Leave was passed in the House Health and Human Services Finance Division on Monday, April 1.

Wednesday, March 27: The Legislative Commission on Pensions and Retirement met Tuesday evening to review proposals changing contributions rates to the Individual Retirement Account Plan (IRAP), which is the default retirement plan for unclassified employees at MinnState who have no prior state service. Employees hired into the MinnState unclassified service generally elect coverage between IRAP and the Teachers' Retirement Account (TRA) for their retirement plan. The changes are necessary to comply with federal tax law.

H.F. 2489 (Murphy), as amended, increases employee contribution rates to IRAP by 0.65 percent each year over 5 years for MAPE employees currently enrolled in IRAP, while newer employees who have yet to elect their retirement plan coverage will see an immediate 3 percent increase in their contribution rates. H.F. 2671 (Nelson)/ S.F. 243 (Frentz), as amended, increases the employer contribution rates by 0.35 percent each year over 5 years to match the employee contribution rates under TRA. Both bills were laid over for inclusion in the omnibus pension bill, and will receive additional hearings in the respective House and Senate finance committees in the coming weeks.

H.F. 5, the Paid Family and Medical Leave Act, completed one of its final hurdles in the House, passing out of the Jobs and Economic Development Finance committee. The next hearing will be in the House State Government Finance committee on Friday, March 29 at 10 a.m. in Capitol Room 10 (updated March 28).

Jobs and Economic Development Finance Division meeting has been rescheduled: Tuesday, March 26, 2019 from 8:00 to 9:30 a.m., 200 State Office Building

The committee is expected to recess at 9:30 AM and reconvene later that evening, time and location is TBD, to take up HF 5, HF 6, and HF 11

I.     Call To Order
II.    Roll Call
III.   Approval of Minutes

  • HF 119 (Sundin) Helmets to Hard hats
  • HF 975 (Richardson) Commission of the Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing funding provided
  • HF 1091 (Noor) Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board Learn to Earn/Teen Teamworks youth employment program funding provided
  • HF 1860 (Hansen) Meatpacking worker terms clarified, notification in other than English and Spanish languages provided
  • HF 2151 (Gunther) Entrepreneurial development funding provided, reports required, and money appropriated.
  • HF 1253 (Stephenson) Barriers to employment for people with mental illness report required, and money appropriated.
  • HF 5 (Halverson) Paid Family Medical Leave Act
  • HF 6 (Mahoney) Wage Theft Prohibited
  • HF 11 (Lesch) Earned Sick and Safe Time

V.     Adjournment

Thursday, March 21:

SF 2111 (Koran) Affirmative approval before interim implementation of state employee collective bargaining agreements  requirement was heard in room 1200 of the Senate Office Building at 1:00 p.m. The bill was laid over to be included in the Senate State Government Finance Omnibus bill. 

This bill requires approval of both the House and Senate members on the Subcommittee of Employee Relations to approve our contract to go into effect. Without that vote, our contract and benefits will be delayed for an undetermined period of time.

HF 1863 (Lillie) State employee salaries money appropriated in the event of nonappropriation was heard at 8:00 a.m. in the Basement of the State Office Building.

This bill was heard in the House State Government Finance Division and was laid over to be included in the State Government Finance Division omnibus bill. It is legislation ensuring that employees receive pay  during a state government shutdown. MAPE member Kelly Christenson will be testifying.

Wednesday, March 13: H.F.1863, a bill providing continuation of paid salaries for employees laid off during a state government shutdown will receive its second hearing in the House State Government Finance at 8:00 a.m. in the Basement of the State Office Building on March 21.

H.F.1948 has now become the bill that will have all the House Public Safety omnibus bill provisions in it. One bill included is H.F.1237, requiring all inmates to be housed in a publicly owned prison.

The Paid Family Leave bill (H.F.5) is set to be heard in the House Jobs committee on an evening to be determined. We will post it here as soon as we get more details.

The Senate is now moving bills quickly to set up their omnibus bills. Unfortunately, their bills will likely include things like an IT outsourcing provision, a statewide freeze on increasing the number of FTE’s and restrictions on collective bargained contract costs. As these omnibus bills are introduced, we will pass along the specific information.

The emergency insulin assistance account bill (H.F.485) passed Health and Human Services policy committee in the House. It will now be heading to the Ways and Means committee.

A preemption bill (S.F.2321) was heard Tuesday preventing local governments from implementing their own wage and benefit ordinances. The bill passed the Senate Committee on Local Government. It’s next stop will be in the Senate Jobs and Economic Growth Finance and Policy.

Upcoming this week: PFML next stop is Judiciary and Civil Law committee on Tuesday, March 12th at 9:45 a.m. in Room 10 of the State Office Building. A bill to cap the number of FTEs in state government, S.F. 2073 (Koran), will be in the Senate State Government Finance committee. Pre-emption bill, aka the Uniform Labor Standards Act, has resurfaced and will be heard in Senate Local Government committee.

Committees will begin taking testimony and reviewing the Governor’s budget bills beginning with the Tax Bill on Tuesday, March 12. Also on deck Tuesday are the SEIU Healthcare contract and the insulin price control bill proposals.

Wednesday, March 13, will roll out the Corrections Omnibus Bill, the student loan ombudsperson bill, a bill proposing a 40-hour work week, the Public Employment Relations Board funding, and an ineffective, pro-Chamber of Commerce version of the wage theft bill.

Friday, March 15, is the first deadline for all policy bills to have received their first hearing, As a result, Thursday and Friday’s schedule will largely depend on what the legislature can get through Wednesday.     

Tuesday, March 19, is the final day you can register for 2019 MAPE Day on the Hill! Sign up here or contact Devin Bruce at dbruce@mape.org before the deadline.

Monday, March 11: A host of Corrections bills, including a ban on private prisons (H.F. 1237, Winkler), funding for additional correctional officers (H.F. 1315, Considine) and support/clinical staff (H.F. 1615, Wolgamott) received their first hearings last week, with MAPE testifying in support of the measures to address the ongoing safe staffing crisis in our state facilities.

Paid Family and Medical Leave (H.F. 5, Halverson) was heard in Government Operations committee to review the bill’s rulemaking authority. The next stop is Judiciary and Civil Law committee on Tuesday, March 12th at 9:45 a.m. in Room 10 of the State Office Building.

H.F. 13 (Kunesh-Podein), the Equal Rights Amendment, passed off the House floor and will await the Senate to take up the bill. A bill that would ensure state employees receive their paychecks in the event they are furloughed due to a shutdown, H.F. 1863 (Lillie) passed out of the House Government Operations committee and was sent to Ways and Means committee.

Thursday, March 7: H.F. 1863 (Rep. Leon Lillie) will get its first hearing in Government Operations at 9:45 a.m. in the basement of the State Office Building. This bill would ensure state employees are paid for time while on furlough during a state government shutdown.

Tuesday, March 5: H.F. 769 (Rep. Lynn Carlson) funding the Public Employee Relations Board will be heard in Government Operations at 9:45 a.m. in the basement hearing room of the State Office Building. The Board will be able to rule expeditiously on unfair labor practices.

H.F. 6 (Rep. Tim Mahoney) increasing civil and criminal penalties for wage theft will be heard at 9:45 a.m. in Judiciary Finance and Civil Law in room 10 of the State Office Building.

H.F. 485 (Rep. Mike Howard) providing for an insulin assistance program will be heard in the Commerce committee in room 120 of the Capitol at 2:30 p.m.

Monday, March 4: The Minnesota ERA bill H.F. 13 (Rep. Kunesh-Podein) was heard in Rules and passed out of committee. The next stop will be a full vote of the House of Representatives.

Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019: H.F. 1863 (Rep. Leon Lillie) was introduced. This bill would ensure state employees are paid for time while on furlough during a state government shutdown.

Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2019: On Feb. 26th, the MN House Corrections Division heard H.F. 1237 banning the operation of a private prison in Minnesota. MAPE staff provided testimony on the impact of recidivism and staff safety by having privately operated prisons in Minnesota. The bill was laid over for possible inclusion in a corrections omnibus bill later in the session. Following the hearing, the bills chief author, House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler, held a press conference urging bipartisan support in both legislative bodies.

H.F. 1615 was also heard and laid over for possible inclusion in the corrections omnibus bill. This bill includes an estimated 60 additional MAPE staff including case managers, therapists and agents to carry out the mission of the Department of Corrections. MAPE staff also testified on behalf of this legislation.

H.F. 5 also received another hearing. The bill passed out of the House Government Operations committee. This is the Paid Family and Medical Leave bill requiring all employers to provide 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave. This bill will next be heard in the House Judiciary and Civil Law on March 12 at 9:45 am.

The Governor’s bonding bill was also released today. He proposes investing $1.27 billion in community infrastructure projects across the state. After eight years of sound fiscal management by the Dayton Administration, the State of Minnesota has a triple-A bond rating and over $3 billion in available bonding capacity for 2020-2021. Governor Walz’s $1.27 billion proposal is well within these limitations.

Governor Walz and Lt. Governor Flanagan understand the importance of maintaining the assets we currently have. Half of their 2019 capital budget ($631 million) will support asset preservation projects at state agencies, such as roof replacements and exterior repairs, renovation and repurposing of existing facilities to better meet program needs, and renewing buildings to keep occupants safe and healthy.

Half ($631 million) of the Governor’s bonding proposal goes towards maintaining the existing assets of State agencies requests including roof replacements, building repair, renovations, and building renewal to keep workers safe and healthy.

Monday, Feb. 25, 2019: On Feb. 25th, the Minnesota Equal Rights Amendment bill, H.F. 13 (Rep. Kunesh-Podein) passed out of the House Ways and Means committee on Monday, February 25th putting it on its way to the Rules Committee then the House floor for a full vote of the MN House. This bill would provide gender equality under our state’s constitution.

Feb. 18-22, 2019

  • The Walz Administration released its budget priorities this week. MAPE will provide updates as the agencies present their budget requests and the governor’s budget bills get scheduled for hearings.
  • The Paid Family and Medical Leave bill, H.F. 5 (Halverson), passed out of House Commerce committee Tuesday along party line vote and will head to Government Operations committee to focus on rulemaking provisions in the bill. H.F. 4 (Lesch).
  • A bill proposal to control the price of prescription drug prices also passed through Commerce committee Wednesday.
  • A bill reestablishing an ombudsperson for the Department of Corrections was heard Wednesday in the Subcommittee on Corrections and laid over for future work.
  • The ERA bill proposing a constitutional amendment on gender equality, H.F. 13 (Kunesh-Podein), passed out of the House Judiciary and Civil Law committee.
  • MAPE testified against S.F. 910 (Kiffmeyer), which outsources services performed by Mn.IT employees.
  • An appropriation bill containing operational funding for the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB), H.F. 769 (Carlson), passed the Labor committee along party lines Wednesday and will be heard in the Government Operations committee next.