Legislative Update Feb. 28, 2023
Despite shutting down for a blizzard, there was progress on many key issues at the Capitol over the past two weeks.
Early last week, the Senate passed a bill that put inflation back into the forecast. As a consequence, and for the first time in 20 years, the budget forecast accounts for rising costs of goods when determining the outlook of Minnesota’s finances. This week’s budget forecast indicated though the economic outlook for the state has improved since the November forecast, improvements were offset by inflation. Still the February budget forecast showed a steady $17.5 billion surplus - $12.5 billion of which is carryover from the current fiscal year and $5 billion is a structural surplus.
The Senate also worked into the night of Feb. 22 to pass and send to Gov. Walz Restore the Vote and Driver’s Licenses for All, initiatives MAPE has supported for years. Restore the Vote legislation will restore voting rights to people who are released from incarceration. Drivers Licenses for All will allow people without documents to test for and obtain a driver’s license and auto insurance.
While much has already been sent to Gov. Walz for his signature, work continues to move quickly through committees and House and Senate floors. Public Employment Relations Board funding has passed through the House floor, while committees continue to move Paid Family and Medical Leave bills, expansion and modernization of PELRA and Cannabis bills.
With the February forecast complete, expect to hear more soon about the budget as deadlines loom and spring break approaches.
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