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April 02, 2018

Minnesota Legislative Update: Recess Review

The Capitol building is quiet today as legislators begin their 10-day recess after working around the clock to meet the second committee deadline (March 29), which required that all policy bills be passed out of committees and re-referred to the House or Senate Floor or to finance committees.

When legislators return on April 9, they will have a number of big issues to address before the third committee deadline (April 20) and the last day of session (May 21), including supplemental budgets, federal tax conformity and a bonding bill. In other words, more long nights at the Capitol are likely in the near future.

Constitutional Amendment

In November, Minnesota voters may be deciding on whether the revenues collected from sales tax on auto parts and auto-related transactions will be dedicated to roads and bridges. Currently, some of the revenue from these taxes goes directly into the State’s General Fund, where it can be used for health care, education or transportation, and some is statutorily dedicated to transportation. This proposed amendment would constitutionally dedicate all of this revenue to roads and bridges. Sen. Scott Newman (R, Hutchinson) is the author of the bill, SF3837, which proposes the amendment.

SF3837 was passed out of the Senate Transportation Finance and Policy Committee on Wednesday, March 28 and sent to the Senate Rules Committee. Currently, House Transportation Finance Chair Rep. Paul Torkelson (R, Hanska) has not indicated what his position is regarding the proposed amendment.

Expect this topic to return after the break — and possibly in future legislative sessions.

Bills That Met Deadline

  • HF1507/SF1961 — Student Data Privacy: Rep. Eric Lucero (R, Dayton) and Sen. Eric Pratt (R, Prior Lake) are authoring bills addressing online data privacy protections for K-12 students. The bills are significantly different from one another. The parent advocacy group Minnesota Advocates and Champions for Children and the ACLU Minnesota are in favor of Rep. Lucero’s version of the bill, while industry advocates favor Sen. Pratt’s bill.
  • HF4067/SF3154 — State Employee Contracts: Rep. Marion O’Neill (R, Maple Lake) and Sen. Jeremy Miller (R, Winona) successfully guided their bills approving state employee contracts to the Governor’s desk for his signature. The Governor applauded the bill and signed it into law.

Important Dates

  • April 9, 2018 – Legislature returns from recess
  • April 20, 2018 – Third committee deadline
  • May 21, 2018 – Last day of session

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