With four days left in the regular session, the House passed a funding mechanism for itself and others in the next two fiscal years.
Also included is a major policy change for when members get together and a minor one for when they begin.
The 299-page conference committee report on the state government finance bill, that also includes local government and elections provisions, was passed 69-62 Friday and now heads for the Senate. Rep. Ginny Klevorn (DFL-Plymouth) and Sen. Erin Murphy (DFL-St. Paul) sponsor HF1830.
“This legislation contains procedures; prudent, targeted funding for state and local government; a solid foundation for government that serves all Minnesotans," Klevorn said. "With this bill we will begin to rectify years of disinvestment, this bill will offset prior funding gaps and allow agencies to provide needed services for Minnesotans.”
Acknowledging it’s not the “sexiest” bill, Rep. Emma Greenman (DFL-Mpls) said it helps provide the “scaffolding and the foundation” for the work state government does for all Minnesotans.
Among concerns expressed by Rep. Jim Nash (R-Waconia) is an approximately 41% growth over base spending and expanded powers of the executive branch, including the attorney general’s office. Again quoting Oscar Wilde, he said, “The bureaucracy is expanding to meet the needs of the expanding bureaucracy.”
The agreement calls for, beginning with the 2025 session, the session start date would be “the first Tuesday after the second Monday in January of each odd-numbered year.” Additionally, the agreement would redefine a legislative day to when either body “gives any bill a third reading, adopts a rule of procedure or organization, elects a university regent, confirms a gubernatorial appointment, or votes to override a gubernatorial veto.” In current statute, a legislative day is described as “a day when either house of the legislature is called to order.”
Two things over the heads of legislators would also be different at times next session:
The agreement checks in at $1.53 billion in net General Fund 2024-25 biennial spending, $410 million over base. It includes additional spending for the state’s constitutional offices, more than 30 boards, agencies and councils, and the Administration and Revenue departments. Compensation Council salary recommendations for the state’s constitutional officers would be adopted. They call for a 9% increase July 1, 2023, and 7.5% bump effective July 1, 2024.
[MORE: View the state and local government change item spreadsheet]
Among policy changes the agreement would:
Appropriately in “No Mow May,” potentially the most notable change the public would notice in local government-related changes is a city could allow a private property owner, authorized agent, or occupant to install and maintain a managed natural landscape. Plants and grasses more than 8 inches tall that have gone to seed would be permitted, but not noxious weeds.
General Fund spending of almost $24.62 million in fiscal years 2023-25 is called for, a $9.5 million increase. That includes $2.5 million to assist local governments with election infrastructure and staffing.
[MORE: View the change item spreadsheet]
“Minnesota’s elections have always been among the smoothest and most secure in the nation, but passing this Elections bill will make our elections even safer, easier, and more inclusive than they’ve ever been.” Rep. Mike Freiberg (DFL-Golden Valley) said in a statement.
Penalties would be established for intimidation and interference related to an election judge performing their official duties and tampering with the statewide voter registration system, registration list or polling place roster.
Other policy includes: