with 5 days to go
> The $800 million bonding bill brought to the floor by House Republicans yesterday, failed on a 70-62 vote. Bonding bills require approval from 3/5 of the legislature, and in the house that means 81 votes. The bonding bill is historically one of the last bills to pass during a legislative session.
> Budget negotiations between DFL Governor Mark Dayton and Republican legislative leaders broke down late on Wednesday with the two sides accusing each other of not making sufficient compromises to reach a deal (more on this below).
> Legislative leaders and Governor Dayton spent most of the day yesterday working through the HHS budget. The Agriculture budget remains the only spending area with an agreed-to target.
> The House passed the REAL ID conference committee report on a vote of 120-11. The Senate followed soon-after, voting 57-8 for the measure. Dayton said he will sign it. Minnesota is the last state to adopt the federal standards.
> At a press conference, Dayton said that he needs to be briefed on the teacher licensure bill before he could comment on whether he will sign or veto it.
> The House HHS Finance committee held an informational hearing on the Prior Auth bill, authored by Rep. Rod Hamilton (R). You can watch the hearing below.
Budget talks break down at Capitol
Tim Pugmire, Minnesota Public Radio News 10:02 PM 5/17/17
With just five days left in the session it’s unclear when talks will resume. Dayton made an offer Wednesday afternoon that gave Republicans less than $700 million of the $1.5 billion projected budget surplus to divide between two of their priorities: tax cuts and transportation funding. Not surprisingly, GOP leaders rejected the proposal.
Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, R-Nisswa, accused the governor of moving backwards from his early positions on both areas. He said Republicans made a counter offer that moved a bit closer to Dayton’s position on tax cuts and spending, but Dayton didn’t like it.
Despite the setback, Gazelka said he isn’t giving up.
“We’re going to keep negotiating and working. We know we have to come to an agreed end, or at least we think we need to. The governor was very upset. We know that we just have to keep working toward a positive conclusion for Minnesota.”
Dayton said his offer was “Minnesota fair” because it would have met Republicans halfway. GOP leaders flatly reject that calculation and characterization.
Dayton accused Republicans of wanting to cut state programs and services “to the bone” to pay for a “tax giveaway.” He also suggested that he’s done compromising.
“We’re not making an offer that goes beyond halfway,” he said. “This is what happened in 2011. We were $3 billion apart, I dropped $1.5 billion and said I’ll meet you halfway. They didn’t budge. We ended up in a shutdown. If they won’t budge, that’s probably what we have in the cards.”
Budget talks weren’t the only snag.
House Republicans suffered a setback in their effort to pass an $800 million bonding bill when Democrats held back their support. The GOP-crafted package of public construction projects needed some DFL help to reach the three-fifths majority required for borrowing measures. It fell 11 votes short.
Rep. Alice Hausman, DFL- St. Paul, said Republicans left out too many projects on college campuses. She said her side wants a bigger bill.
“We’re all sort of settling in on a $995 million bill, and we need a little bit of cash, maybe $50 million general fund, because there are some of those projects that aren’t bondable. We would have a bill that would come to the House and Senate floor, it would pass overwhelmingly with bipartisan votes, and it would help the whole state of Minnesota.”
Republicans tried unsuccessfully to convince Democrats to support the bill to get it to conference committee with the Senate. House Speaker Kurt Daudt, R-Zimmerman, questioned why Democrats would want to block the bill and delay its resolution.
“Unfortunately, people think that at this time in session that playing those kinds of games is somehow helpful to get our work done. It’s just not.”
The House and Senate had a significant legislative accomplishment Wednesday when they passed a compromise measure on Real ID implementation. The effort to move Minnesota toward compliance with the federal law had been hung up for a year due to disagreements over language prohibiting unauthorized immigrants from obtaining drivers’ licenses. Negotiators finally removed that contentious section.
The legislation is needed because the federal government is due to begin enforcing tougher ID standards next year for people who board domestic flights.
Rep. Dennis Smith, R-Maple Grove, said the conference committee improved the bill.
“This bill has come back with enhanced drivers’ licenses for all locations. This bill came back with rulemaking being silent, and this bill is fiscally sound.”
Sen. Warren Limmer, R-Maple Grove, has been fighting against Real ID. He was at it again Wednesday with a warning about federal overreach.
“This is becoming a new chapter in American history, and quite frankly, I think we’re going to regret it.”
The bill is now headed to Dayton, who said again that he will sign it. He commended the Legislature for “working that one out.”
May 12th, 2017
Two weeks ago legislators responded to Governor Dayton's request to see a single House and Senate position on all 10 omnibus budget bills that were in conference committee. On Friday, April 28th, the House and Senate adopted joint budget targets. On May 1st and 2nd those conference committees adopted budgets and bills that aligned with those targets and negotiations with the Dayton Administration began in earnest.
After about a week of slow negotiations, legislative leaders decided on Monday that it was important for the legislature to pass their budget regardless of the Governor’s support. With two weeks left in session, they determined they had the time for bills to be vetoed and they could quickly reconstitute conference committees for the 10 bills needed to enact the budget before May 22nd.
This accomplishes 3 important functions for legislative leaders. First, it shuts down any arguments that the legislature “hasn’t completed its work”. Second, it provides a dress rehearsal-of-sorts to gauge the approximate time it will take to pass bills and any pinch points or problems for the whips in getting to the votes needed on the floor.
Third, and most importantly, it keeps everyone busy. Rank-and-file legislators start to get restless this time of year; too much down-time at this stage of session can surface intra-party disagreements and a create a dissent caucus within the majority caucus. Because caucus leaders are absent negotiating a final deal, they rely on their deputies to keep the caucus on-strategy. But an internal debate about whether leaders did well in the reality of compromise or used it as an opportunity to sell out their caucus is one no legislative leader wants to have. This happens most-often in the House, and can undermine the leader of the caucus and weakens their position in negotiations. The Senate DFL caucus went through this scenario 2 years ago when on the day after session, Bakk faced an angry caucus in a closed-door meeting that might-as-well been televised due to the many legislators who talked to the press who reported about the very specific resentments and divisions that had formed in the caucus.
Keeping legislators on the floor arguing over language that may never become law keeps everyone busy and provides an outlet for expending energy that keeps the frame partisan rather than intra-partisan.
Dayton followed-through on the threats today by vetoing the 5 bills that had been passed so far by the legislature. Additionally, he issued five veto letters spanning 18 pages. Dayton outlined point by point his objections to the myriad policy measures contained in the budget bills. He chastised Republicans’ budget bills as inadequate and urged them to eliminate most, if not all, the policy provisions and instead focus on spending levels. Five other budget bills are pending passage by the Legislature, but Dayton has already pledged to veto those as well unless they are changed to meet pre-negotiated terms. [They were released about 2pm today--I'll post them on OA 2017 session page when I get them].
The House met today for about 2 hours and has adjourned. The Senate and House are not scheduled to meet before Monday and there are currently no hearings on the agenda for Mother’s Day weekend. History shows that legislative urgency doesn't typically appear until a week before adjournment. So expect for the energy-level to kick-up significantly on Monday.
Talks will not officially resume until Sunday but in the meantime Dayton, Daudt, and Gazelka will spend plenty of time together in a boat on the Mississippi near St. Cloud in an #onlyinMN end-of-session custom to promote the fishing opener. Whether they bring spreadsheets in their tackle boxes and hammer out a deal or set negotiations aside and sit quietly for hours between little comments about the weather is anyones guess. We’ll find out on Monday.
Dayton follows through on threat, vetoes 5 budget bills
By Ricardo Lopez Star Tribune MAY 12, 2017 — 3:05PM
Gov. Mark Dayton on Friday followed through on his veto threats on five major budget bills, rejecting spending bills sent to him by the Republican-controlled Legislature.
In five veto letters spanning 18 pages, Dayton outlined point by point his objections to the myriad policy measures contained in the budget bills. He chastised Republicans’ budget bills as inadequate and urged them to eliminate most, if not all, the policy provisions and instead focus on spending levels. Five other budget bills are pending passage by the Legislature, but Dayton has already pledged to veto those as well.
“I remain confident that we can work out these differences and end the legislative session on time,” Dayton wrote in his veto letter of the agricultural finance bill. “The people of Minnesota expect that we work together to keep our state competitive.”
In their budgets, Republicans use most of a projected $1.65 billion budget surplus to cover about $1.1 billion in tax cuts. House Speaker Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, has said that Dayton’s insistence on point-by-point negotiations on specific provisions was slowing down the process of finalizing a new two-year state budget
Talks have stalled and will not resume until Sunday, at the earliest, because of the weekend fishing opener that Dayton will attend with Daudt, as well as Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, R-Nisswa. The three men will climb into a boat on the Mississippi near St. Cloud to mark the Minnesota fishing opener.
The Legislature is required to pass a balanced budget by May 22 or risk going into a special session.
TOPICS FOR LEGISLaTIVE AUDITOR IN 2017
Board of Animal Health
Duplicative Agency Functions
Early Childhood Screening Programs
Fiscal Impact of the Federal Refugee Resettlement Program
Guardians Ad Litem
Minnesota Information Technology (MNIT) Services
MnDOT Financial Effectiveness
Office of Health Facility Complaints (OHFC)
University of Minnesota Administrative Expenses
Legislative Update, May 6th 2017
Joint targets were released last Friday, freeing up conference committees to hammer out agreements, which they did in the first half of the week. Dayton told legislative leaders they would have to come to an agreement between themselves first, before he would begin negotiations. The legislature met that milestone early in the week, and since then, Governor Dayton, Speaker of the House Kurt Daudt, Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, and deputy leaders and committee chairs have been meeting regularly to come to global targets that will make up a final deal to fund the Government for the next two years.
There are very few verifiable details on how negotiations are going, but the signs, rumors, and theories mostly seem positive. Rural members were told to "expect to work this weekend should negotiations go poorly”—the idea being if they were getting nowhere with Dayton they would send the bills to him Friday and Saturday to force him to veto them. But, apparently thingswere going well-enough for leaders to send everyone home on Friday for a long-weekend before the last nonstop 2 week push starts on Monday. Meanwhile the Governor and leg leaders will continue to meet over the weekend.
On Friday, legislative leaders joined the Governor at a press conference to talk about how negotiations have proceeded. They released alight-hearted statement that said, in part, they people were “cordial and constructive, the negotiations continue to be productive, and they are optimistic about the prospect for finishing on time.” These bolded phrases were recently talked about by the press as being cliches—by trolling the local press pool, they showed they could poke a little fun at themselves and they were getting along. That could be a good sign for coming to an agreement.
We are looking pretty good on timing from my standpoint. On Monday the legislature has 14 days to come to agreement and process the major spending bills. As of now, the budget bills would be agreed to and adopted via conference committee reports. As a reminder, you cannot amend conference committee reports—they are an up-or-down, take-it-or-leave-it, shut-down or no shut-down, vote.
So there is a lot of time left and still too-early tocome to an agreement. Rank and file members, lobbyists, and staff are in a holding pattern right now until the global deal is reached. I’ll be watching the Senate special orders and the House calendars diligentlyly and watching floor amendments carefully. This is the time of year when people get desperate and start amending things on the floor (especially in the Senate where there is no warning).
declared, declined, or dElayed the decision--here's the list on who's running for Governor in 2018
Declared DFL State Auditor Rebecca Otto, State Rep. Erin Murphy, St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, Rep. Tina Liebling, Congressman. Tim Walz
Declared GOP Rep. Matt Dean
DFL Considering U.S. Congressman Rick Nolan, Attorney General Lori Swanson, MN Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk, Frm. MN House Speaker Paul Thissen
DFL Not Running U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar, Lt. Governor Tina Smith
GOP Considering U.S. Congressman Tom Emmer, U.S. Congressman Erik Paulsen, House Speaker Kurt Daudt, state Rep. Matt Dean, state Sen. Dave Osmek, Hennepin Sherriff Rich Stanek, frm. state Sen. David Hann, GOP Party Chair Keith Downey, Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson
GOP Not Running Former Governor Tim Pawlenty, Former U.S. Congressman John Kline
Jennifer Carnahan was elected Chair of the Republican Party last weekend, defeating former Sen. Minority Leader David Hann, National Committeeman Rick Rice, and Deputy chair Chris Fields.
Carnahan ran as the Republican-endorsed candidate for the Minnesota Senate in District 59 in deep blue North Minneapolis, (Bobby Jo Champion). She served as a delegate to the Republican National Convention in 2016. She owns her own retail business and worked in branding for General Mills, Ecolab and McDonalds during her career. Carnahan is the first Asian American to serve as Party chair. Jennifer Carnahan, Chair firstname.lastname@example.org @jkcarnah
The French vote for President this weekend.
An hour before the mandatory French media blackout, Russia released a huge batch of stolen documents from the Moderate candidate, which they mixed in with fabricated documents. Russia continues to meddle in the Wests democracies by helping fuel a Rousseau-derived 'correction' after decades of being ignored by an out of touch political class.
My take on the state of things.
Speaker Daudt and Majority Leader Gazelka have set next Thursday as the date by which an agreement with the Governor should be met in order to give rank and file members enough time to review and pass the final bills. This is likely the first of many arbitrary deadlines set - and often not met this time of year. Republicans did release the joint targets in time to meet the deadline requested by the Governor earlier in session.
On Monday conference committees are supposed to be wrapped up so expect a long day today. (Watch the joint target press conference to the left).
Joint targets were released on Friday. they are higher then the original house targets and lower then the targets the Senate set.
The DFL Response to the Budget Targets on Friday.
Conferee's of Budget Bills, The Senate has many freshman members
Mayor Betsy Hodges gave her state of the city address this week, you can view it here.
Week in Review: April 24-28
By HPIS Staff
A week heavy on conference committees continuing to work through differences between House and Senate bills ended with an announcement from legislative leaders that they want these groups to have agreements by the end of Monday — three weeks before the constitutional adjournment date. Assuming the deadline is met, budget negotiations would likely begin later in the week with Gov. Mark Dayton.
House Speaker Kurt Daudt also indicated Friday that a House Republican bonding proposal should be unveiled next week.
Early in the week, the House passed a pair of abortion-related bills (both of which the governor has threatened to veto) and bills related to increased dental care access and autism-related benefits. A number of civil law bills were among those passed Thursday.
Before looking ahead to next week let’s take a look at what you may have missed this week.
House, Senate agree to budget targets — now seek common ground with governor
Governor, legislative leaders remain at budget impasse
BUSINESS AND COMMERCE
House votes to allow cancellation of condo purchases via email
House hems in condo-owner litigation over construction defects
House acts to freeze property owners ‘duty of care’ to trespassers
House tries again to rein in ‘drive-by’ disability-rights lawsuits
Conferees on jobs and energy begin to iron out their differences
‘Starting Line’: How do you save for the future?
Less than $1 million in total funding separates House, Senate legacy bills
House wants children in foster care to know their rights
Minnesota Index: Immigration in Minnesota
HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
Both savings, spending measures differ in HHS omnibus bills
House passes measure to require licensure of abortion clinics
Ending state funding for abortions gets House OK
House passes bill with aim to provide greater access to dental care
Expanding autism-related benefits heads to governor’s desk
Public hospitals could see fewer investment restrictions
Tax provision making ‘zapper’ use a felony passes House
Changes to MnDOT land conveyance process pass the House