The Legislature was a flurry of activity this week as omnibus spending bills were passed out of committees. The House completed their omnibus bills by Thursday night, while the Senate continued their work through Friday. Expect long floor sessions next week, when these omnibus bills will be debated on the House and Senate floor.
- The House passed all of their omnibus bills out of their respective budget divisions this week. Omnibus bills that passed Ways and Means this week – the final stop for the omnibus bills before the floor – include education, environment, and higher education bills. For Monday, the jobs/economic development and agriculture omnibus bills are scheduled to be heard in the Ways and Means committee. The remaining bills to go through this committee include health and human services, judiciary, public safety, and state government bills. Long sessions are expected Monday through Thursday of next week to debate the omnibus finance bills. Both the omnibus transportation and tax bills are expected be up on the House floor Monday.
- In the Senate, the Health and Human Services and Tax Committees were still working on their budget proposals Friday. Earlier in the week, Senate Finance – the final stop for senate omnibus bills - passed the agriculture, higher education, jobs, and economic development budget proposals. As of Friday afternoon, the Finance committee was finishing the commerce, energy, environment, and the judiciary/public safety budget bills. The proposals for education, health and human services, and transportation budget areas will be heard in Finance committee next week. As in the House, long Senate sessions are expected next week as senators begin debating the omnibus bills.
- Some non-budget committees met this week to hear testimony on bonding proposals dealing with flooding. The Senate version - S.F. 664 - was authored by Sen. Dave Senjem (R- Rochester), who is chair of the Senate Capital Investment Committee. The House bonding chair, Rep. Larry Howes (R-Walker), introduced H.F. 959 - the companion bill. The early proposals seek to fund $28 million in flood mitigation and prevention activities.
- Governor Dayton released a revised budget plan as a result of the improved economic forecast released in late February. The state's biennial budget deficit was reduced from $6.19 billion to $5.03 billion. Major changes in Dayton's proposal include the elimination of the 3% surtax on incomes over $500,000, reinvesting $170.3 million in health and human services spending, and adding a proposal to boost the research and development tax credit by $21.8 million. Read a summary of the economic forecast.
- Gov. Dayton signed the federal tax conformity bill into law on Monday. The law adopts most of the 2010 federal tax changes, which include the extension of tax cuts. It also allows for parents' health insurance plans to cover dependents up to age 26. Read the governor's press release for more information.