On Tuesday, June 8, AgriGrowth hosted an event featuring Minnesota’s State House and Senate leaders for our annual Legislative Wrap-Up Luncheon. It was wonderful to see many of our members in person at the Securian Building in St. Paul for the event, as well as welcome attendees virtually via Zoom. Panelists and speakers included Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, Senate Minority Leader Susan Kent, House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler, House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt, and Minnesota Department of Agriculture Commissioner Thom Petersen.
With a special session expected to begin next week, lawmakers spoke about what may be in and out of a final $52 billion budget deal, with most expressing optimism that a deal will be reached by July 1st in order to avoid a government shutdown.
“My commitment is that we will get done on time. I do believe the House and the governor get the gravity of this, and we will see as we navigate through, but we will get it done,” noted Senator Gazelka in his remarks during our legislative panel.
When talking specifically about the agri-food sector, lawmakers noted that agriculture is often an area where there is strong bipartisan agreement at the Capitol. Majority Leader Winkler commented that, “we should be ready to go with agriculture faster than just about everything else in terms of a budget bill.”
Given that the special session has not yet convened and only budget targets have been agreed upon by the House Speaker, Senate Majority Leader and Governor Walz, our Legislative Wrap-up also served as a way for Minnesota’s legislative leaders to openly discuss their budget and policy goals with so much work still left undone in St. Paul. Transparency issues around end of session negotiations was a hot topic of conversation during the panel, as was the governor’s emergency powers, health care spending, employment, the possibility of a full-time legislature, and our state’s economic recovery following COVID-19.
At AgriGrowth, we are proud to be conveners that bring together the private, public and non-profit sectors to advocate for the shared priorities of the agri-food industry. This was a wonderful event, and a unique opportunity we were able to provide to our members to hear from lawmakers first-hand about the 2021 session and upcoming special session. We are thankful that so many were able to attend and join us on Tuesday!
AgriGrowth’s government affairs team will continue to monitor the special session, and champion policies important to our members. If you have questions or concerns about a legislative issue, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-238-0089.