Lawmakers late Thursday night OK’d the appropriations needed to fund state government agencies, veterans’ services, constitutional offices and the Legislature.
The $1.07 billion package is $98.8 million more than a state government finance bill vetoed during the regular session.
“We crafted a budget that the House, Senate, and Governor’s Office will all be able to support,” said Rep. Sarah Anderson (R-Plymouth) said in a statement. Anderson sponsored the bill along with Sen. Mary Kiffmeyer (R-Big Lake).
“With this compromise we are putting an end to double-digit state agency increases, while still funding our shared priorities and making state government more efficient and accountable,” she said.
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The bill includes provisions that would:
Anderson said on the House Floor the bill would create a Legislative Budget Office that “will help us get an accurate picture of what things cost here at the Legislature … and give us more accurate and greater access to information when it comes to the financial decisions that we have to make.”
Executive branch severance package reform is also included, as are new measures related to gain-sharing to incentivize state workers to share ideas for how government could work better.
“Unfortunately, that program was not being followed,” Anderson said. “They’re supposed to have a dollar-for-dollar cost savings and that wasn’t doing that at all.”
The state auditor’s office would have its funding come from the General Fund, under a change made in the bill, as it did prior to 2013. Anderson said the goal is to have “greater oversight and transparency” into how those funds are used by the office.
Additionally, the state auditor is to report on legal expenses “so that we know how funds are being used and that they’re not coming out of the pension division that she oversees,” she said.
Parts of the omnibus liquor bill are also included in the bill. They include:
“They were created to ensure that every woman and girl in the state has the ability and opportunity to achieve economic security,” she said. “This is the only entity that we as legislators get that provides us a broad range of public policy issues and the analysis on them as they relate to the economic status of women. This helps us to enact laws that create more of a level playing field for the women of the state.”
The Minnesota Supreme Court has ordered the Legislature and Gov. Mark Dayton to use mediation to resolve a funding dispute. In an opinion issued Friday, the court also ruled that Dayton’s use of the line-item veto to strip biennial funding for the Legislature was constitutional.
A Ramsey County judge on Wednesday ruled that Gov. Mark Dayton’s line-item veto of legislative funding violated the state’s constitution.
House and Senate leadership OK a resolution to seek outside legal representation in an effort to restore funding for the Legislature that Gov. Mark Dayton line-item vetoed earlier this week.
Day three of the 2017 special session saw lawmakers pass final omnibus bills to be sent to Gov. Mark Dayton, with weary House members wrapping up their work at 2:42 a.m. Friday following a week of long days — and nights — at the State Capitol.
Lawmakers on conference committees must sort through competing bills before finalizing a product to send to the governor.
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It was a day of selfies, swearings-in and standing ovations as the House opened the 2017-18 biennial session Tuesday.