House and Senate Poised to Pass Respective Versions of Omnibus Finance Bills in Coming Weeks
Last week witnessed a flurry of activity as legislators took action on a host of omnibus finance bills upon their return to the Capitol after the annual Easter and Passover break. With the policy committee deadlines having passed last month, finance committees in both bodies of the Legislature focused their efforts on passing their respective omnibus bills during the course of last week to meet what is known as the “third committee” deadline. This included finance bills to appropriate funding in areas such as Agriculture and Rural Development, Commerce, Education, Environment and Natural Resources, Jobs and Economic Development, Judiciary and Public Safety, and Transportation. Many bills that were heard during the earlier stages of session were cobbled together into these larger omnibus bills that ultimately will require final approval from the Ways and Means Committee in the House and the full Finance Committee in the Senate.
This week both bodies will begin to pass the omnibus finance bills off of their respective floors in preparation for conference committee meetings between the GOP-led Senate and the DFL-led House of Representatives. A conference committee is typically comprised of five members from each body who will advocate for their respective positions on a host of provisions included in each bill. With the House and Senate both offering rather stark differences on funding and policy priorities in their budget proposals, there will no doubt be many late nights and weekend meetings to negotiate over a dozen omnibus bills. Not included in this mix is the potential for the passage of a Tax Bill and a Capital Investment bonding bill, which both bodies have also been working to advance. These latter two bills are not required to meet the committee deadlines, nor are they required to be passed and signed into law. However, the state must pass a two-year budget bill into law or be faced with the potential for a partial government shutdown which last happened in 2011. Lawmakers have just over one month to finish their work for the 2021 session, which constitutionally must end at midnight on Monday, May 17. If they do not finish their work on time during the regular session, they will be required to go into special session with a June 30 deadline before the next fiscal year starts on July 1.
AgriGrowth continues to remain engaged with lawmakers on key public policy priorities including additional funding for the Border-to-Border Broadband Program, state tax conformity to the ensure federal Paycheck Protection Program loans are not taxable, additional investments in road, bridge, port, rail, and flood hazard infrastructure, and opposition to onerous and harmful workplace mandates. If you have any questions about AgriGrowth’s public policy priorities or the legislative session in general, please contact Patrick Murray at firstname.lastname@example.org or (651) 238-0089.