For more information contact: Susie Merthan 651-296-2955
Most of our major budget bills have passed off the House floor and are now in conference committees. Because we have a bicameral system in Minnesota, the House and Senate each carry their own versions of legislation. Often times there are major differences between bills that pass in the House and Senate that affect the same subject and budget area. When the House and Senate both pass their respective bills, the bodies appoint a conference committee of Senators and Representatives where differences between the two bills will be negotiated and decided upon. Once conference committees are finished, the bills, now identical, return to the House and Senate for final votes. Once these bills are passed again, they await either a signature or veto from the governor to become law.
For a brief update on the major budget bills that are now in conference committee, please check out my video update: http://youtu.be/7S7x6bfQ2Z8
Below you will find the links to the bills referenced in the video along with their descriptions:
HF5 creates a Minnesota Health Insurance Exchange to comply with federal standards. This bill has already been signed into law by Governor Dayton, and the healthcare exchange will be open for business next year. Minnesota families are expected to save over $1 billion by using the exchange, and 300,000 uninsured Minnesotans are projected to gain coverage through the exchange by 2016.
HF 630 is the E-12 Omnibus Education bill. This bill provides funding for optional all-day kindergarten, early childhood learning scholarships, and implements new reforms to make sure that our students are career and college ready when they leave high school.
HF 729 is the Jobs and Economic Development Omnibus bill. This bill includes an innovative new program called the job-based education and apprenticeship program (JEAP). JEAP will integrate academic instruction and job-site training for manufacturing industries at the post-secondary level. JEAP will help to meet the needs of students interested in manufacturing careers and help to meet the needs of employers who need skilled workers.
HF 976 is the Omnibus Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture Finance bill. This legislation includes funding for PFC monitoring to protect our health, water management wells to study the growing drought and groundwater shortage, and DNR and invasive species initiatives to ensure that Minnesotans can continue to enjoy the outdoors.
HF 1233 is the Omnibus Health and Human Services Finance bill, which cuts $350 million from the state budget while protecting Minnesota’s most vulnerable citizens and seniors. The bill also provides a rate increase for long-term care and nursing homes across the state.
SF 671 is the Omnibus Public Safety Finance bill.
HF 1692 is the Higher Education Omnibus Finance bill. This bill will freeze tuition for students at both the U of MN and MnSCU schools to help control the rapidly increasing costs of an education. In addition, the bill provides oversight for money appropriated by the state to these institutions to ensure that our tax dollars are being well-spent.
SF 1589 is the Omnibus State Government Finance bill.
If you have any questions about these bills, or any other legislative issues, please don’t hesitate to contact me. Over the next week, we will continue to pass bills off the house floor while conference committees meet. You can watch our House floor discussions live on your local cable channel or through this House link: http:/www.house.leg.state.mn.us/htv/mnhouse.asx.
Thank you for the honor of serving our community at the state Capitol.