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‘No easy fix:’ legislative reform subcommittee holds first meeting

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When the 2019 regular legislative session failed to produce an agreement on nearly all major budget bills needed to fund the state government for the next two years, lawmakers were forced into a one-day special session to wrap up their work.

Such special sessions have become the rule rather than the exception in recent years, and they’re one of the reasons the House Subcommittee on Legislative Process Reform was created.

“Minnesotans expect and deserve a modern, efficient, and transparent legislative process,” House Speaker Melissa Hortman said in a statement.

At its first meeting Wednesday, members received overviews from nonpartisan staff on the state’s budget process and how several House committees and divisions navigated that process during the 2019 session, as well as past process reform efforts.

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Recent Dailies

More than $200 million apart, higher ed conference committee begins its work
While the House omnibus bill would provide $3.57 billion in higher education funding, the Senate version comes in at $3.36 billion.
Budget negotiations hit a roadblock as tensions rise at the Capitol
Less than two weeks remain until the Legislature must constitutionally finish its work and the lack of agreement between leaders could imperil the goal of finishing on time.
Legislators hear from MPCA as environment conferees begin work
The devil is in the details as the House and Senate undertake reconciling their views on how to fund the state’s environment and natural resource agencies for the 2020-21 biennium.
Housing policy bill focused on renter protections approved by House
With tenant protections and landlord flexibility at the forefront of its discussions, the House voted 85-49 to approve the housing policy omnibus bill, as amended, Monday evening.
An amicable start to E-12 education finance conference committee discussions
The conference committee on the omnibus education finance bill held its first meeting to review the vastly different House and Senate proposals of HF2400.
Spread funding around or give a lot to a couple of projects? Energy appropriations debate begins
After Friday’s stormy first meeting — which included the Senate’s committee co-chair leading staff out of the hearing room in protest — the conference committee dealing with the omnibus jobs and economic development, energy and climate, and telecommunications policy and finance bill met Monday
Gas tax vs. General Fund — work is underway on bridging major differences in House, Senate transportation bills
House and Senate negotiators on Monday began the work of reconciling their vastly different approaches to funding the state’s transportation needs.
Starting Line: Should the Sentencing Guideline Commission be added to state constitution?
The Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines Commission is already in law, but Rep. Carlos Mariani (DFL-St. Paul) would like to see it added to the state constitution.
Money and policy differences abound in public safety omnibus bills
There will be money and policy to scuffle over in the omnibus judiciary and public safety conference committee, and finding agreement on both will be difficult because the House and Senate positions are starting very far apart.
Can legislative leaders, governor meet self-imposed deadline for budget targets?
Emerging from behind closed doors shortly after noon, Gov. Tim Walz and Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka offered up variations on a theme – while talks between the administration and legislative leadership are cordial, ideology is the stumbling block for budget negotiations.

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Priority Dailies

House DFL outlines $47.8 billion 2020-21 spending proposal
The plan, dubbed the “Minnesota Values Budget,” would increase spending by $416.9 million over the 2020-21 biennium’s projected base budget.
Budget forecast: Projected surplus drops by almost $500 million, still tops $1 billion
The state has a $1.05 billion projected budget surplus for the upcoming biennium, Minnesota Management and Budget officials announced Thursday.
Walz budget would raise gas tax, emphasize education, health care
Education, health care and community prosperity are key targets for funding in the 2020-21 biennial budget proposed by Gov. Tim Walz.
Committee deadlines for 2019 unveiled
Legislators and the public officially know the timeline for getting bills through the committee process.

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