Governor’s “One Minnesota Budget Plan”
This week, Gov. Walz unveiled the first two parts of his four-part budget plan. The first piece of the budget would allocate $12 billion over the next four years for increased investments in education, children and families. The second part of the budget unveiled this week focuses on the economy. This $4.1 billion package includes money for a paid family leave program, small businesses, agriculture, workforce development, and renewable energy. The entirety of the budget plan will be released on Jan. 24.
It is the middle of January, and the third week of the 2023 legislative session. While the Minnesota constitution predetermines the start and end dates of each legislative session, committee deadlines are determined by an agreement of both the House and Senate. These set restrictions for when committees can hear and decide upon certain types of bills and are important to keep the legislature on track for the end of session. The final committee deadline, on April 4, comes right before the legislative spring break that is scheduled for April 5-10 this year.
- Friday, March 10 — Committees must act favorably on bills in their house of origin
- Friday, March 24 — Committees must act favorably on bills that met the first deadline in the other body
- Tuesday, April 4 (5 p.m.) — Committees must act favorably on major appropriation and finance bills
Budget and Revenue Update
The $17.6 billion budget surplus, the largest in state history, continues to grow. The Minnesota Management and Budget (MMB) office found that net general fund receipts for November and December of 2022 were $217 million more than forecast in November. In February, MMB will release an updated forecast which lawmakers will rely on to create the two-year budget.
DFL Priorities Move Forward
Several top priorities for the Minnesota House and Senate DFL majorities are making their way through the committee process. These include marijuana legalization, driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants, paid family leave, and earned sick time for workers.
- HF100/ SF73: would decriminalize the recreational possession and use of marijuana for those over the age of 21, as well as begin a process to expunge the records of Minnesotans who have been previously convicted of low-level marijuana crimes. The nearly 250-page bill is likely to make several committee stops before it reaches to the House and Senate floor.
- HF4/SF27: would allow undocumented immigrants to obtain a driver’s license or state identification card. It would also include data practices to ensure immigration status isn’t shared across state agencies. The bill’s most recent stop was the House Judiciary committee, where it passed on Thursday morning.
- SF2/HF2: would create a state-government run paid family and medical leave program. Workers would be given up to 12 weeks of paid family leave and an additional 12 weeks of paid sick leave. The bill passed the Senate Labor committee but was amended and is now being re-referred to the committee.
- HF19/SF34: would mandate employers to provide earned sick and safe time at the rate of 1 hour for every 30 hours worked up to a maximum of 48 hours per year, unless the employer decides to provide more. HF19 has been approved in two House committees and awaits a hearing in the House State and Local Government Committee. SF34 has been approved by the Senate Labor Committee and awaits a hearing in the Senate State and Local Government and Veterans Committee.
- HF26/SF24: proposes to unlock federal funds from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act so the construction industries can begin planning. The bill includes $235 million to restore Trunk Highway Bonds used as a state match for bridge, community resiliency and carbon reduction programs and to address inflationary impacts and gaps in existing projects. There is also $80 million to fully fund the approved State Transportation Improvement Program. HF26 has cleared the House committee process and is scheduled for a vote on the House floor on Monday, Jan. 23. SF24 is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Transportation Committee on Monday, Jan. 23, at 3 p.m.