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House passes jobs and energy bill in final seconds of regular session

By Chris Steller
Concurrence to Senate amendments to HF1437

Over a loud outcry from DFL members, the House took up and passed a jobs and energy bill 75-9 Monday, just seconds before the mandated midnight ending of the regular session.

Rep. Melissa Hortman (DFL-Brooklyn Park) could be heard urgently asking for a copy of the bill, which several lawmakers said was 93 pages in length. “I emailed it to you half an hour ago,” Rep. Pat Garofalo (R-Farmington) responded moments before House Speaker Kurt Daudt (R-Crown) gaveled the session to a close.

The bill began life in the Senate only 45 minutes earlier, as Sen. David Tomassoni (DFL-Chisholm) proposed a delete-all amendment to HF1437, an omnibus agriculture policy and finance bill sponsored by Rep. Rod Hamilton (R-Mountain Lake).

Tomassoni described it as a lights-on bill maintaining base level funding “for the most part,” with additional provisions that had been agreed upon in both the Senate and House omnibus bills.

Sen. John Marty (DFL-Roseville) unsuccessfully offered three amendments to the amendment, and at about 11:55 p.m. the Senate adopted Tomassoni’s amendment 32-31 and passed the bill 34-29. Within a matter of seconds, the bill arrived from the Senate and was quickly and chaotically passed. 

The bill now goes to Gov. Mark Dayton.

Garofalo and Tomassoni served as conference committee co-chairs and sponsors of the respective omnibus jobs and energy bills, HF843 and SF2101. The conference committee started work on May 6 and six days later adopted 29 same or similar sections.

Tomassoni told the Senate that HF1437 contained those provisions, but said committee members were unable to further agree on a conference committee report.

That didn’t satisfy many senators.

“I’d like some more answers,” said Sen. Barb Goodwin (DFL-Columbia Heights) at 11:51 p.m. “This is no way to make public policies.”

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