Bonding Agreement Reached
With the DFL holding trifecta control in the House, Senate and Governor’s office, they were able to pass almost everything on their wish list. Almost everything, except for a bonding bill —and leading up to the last day of session, it looked like this year would be the third year without a bonding bill. However, all sides were able to find agreement in the end and a bonding package was passed with strong bipartisan support.
As a reminder, the $1.9 billion bonding infrastructure bill (HF 669) passed with bipartisan support in the House earlier this session, but hit a roadblock when it failed in the Senate. Bonding bills require a three-fifths majority to pass. It could not achieve the requisite number of votes in the Senate — where Republicans opposed the measure unless several concessions, including a full elimination of the Social Security tax and increased funding for nursing homes, had been met.
In the weeks leading up to adjournment, the DFL was ready to pass a cash-only capital investment bill that would have funded mostly DFL projects and required a simple majority. Last week, the Senate Rules Committee sent the $1.3 billion cash-only version of the bill forward. This bill required only a simple majority and no Republican support to pass. The bill also notably left out several Greater Minnesota projects that were included in the $1.9 billion bonding bill passed by the House.
On Saturday, a bipartisan agreement was finally reached. DFL and Republican leaders came to a deal including $300 million in funding for nursing homes and $2.6 billion for two capital investment bills: a bonding bill, and a general funds appropriation, or “cash” bill. On Monday, these bills were two of the bills passed on the last day of session.