Minnesota House of Representatives


State Representative JoAnn Ward

231 State Office BuildingState Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

For more information contact: Susie Merthan 651-296-2955

Posted: May 15 2015 8:59AM
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Legislative Update - May 15, 2015

Dear friends,
The legislature must adjourn by midnight on Monday, May 18th in order to avoid a special session. Currently, the Governor, Senate Leadership and House Leadership remain far apart in their budget proposals. This week we are spending time on the House floor voting on individual bills, with conference committees meeting throughout. We have a lot of work to get done before Monday, and will likely be meeting day and night all through the weekend.
Conference Committees
You may be wondering what a conference committee is, or what purpose it serves. A conference committee is made up of House and Senate members who have voted for an individual bill. Because we have a bicameral legislature in Minnesota, both the House and Senate pass different bills. House and Senate conferees meet to compare and reconcile differences between what was passed off of the House and Senate floors. A conference committee report is the final product that comes out of these joint House/Senate conference committees. The conference committee report sets the final biennium budget for that area of state government spending. After final passage the conference committee report, in the form of a bill, goes to the Governor’s desk for final approval. If the Governor signs it, that area of the budget is complete. If he vetoes it, it heads back to the conference committee.
To do their work, conference committees need spending targets. A spending target is set when the House and Senate agree upon the amount of money that will be spent in the next biennium on that area of the budget. The current hold up in negotiations between the Governor and House and Senate is the disagreement over the size of these targets. Until a conference committee receives a target, they cannot really move forward. The biggest monetary difference can be seen in the HHS and Tax Omnibus bills. As a refresher, here is what the omnibus bills funding proposals were as they left the House and Senate floors.
State Senate
State House
E-12 Education
+ $694 million
+ $350 million
+ $157 million
Higher Education
+ $288 million
+ $205 million
+ $53 million
Tax reductions
$138 million
$460 million
$ 2.26 billion
Health Care, Nursing Homes, Disability Services
+ $341 million
+ $341 million
- $1.15 billion
Environment/Agriculture/Jobs Programs
+ $82 million
+ $45 million
- $35 million
+ $26 million
+ $25 million
+ $148 million
Public Safety
+ $147 million
+ $117 million
+ $82 million
State Government/Veterans
+ $63 million
+ $52 million
- $67 million
Budget Reserve
+ $0
+ $250 million
+ 100 million
Total Net Spending       
$42.98 billion
$42.73 billion
$42.58 billion
If you wish to keep up with progress of the conference committees, I encourage you to sign up for the non-partisan House Session Daily. You can subscribe to the Session Daily news feed here. The House Session Daily will give up to date information on when conference committees are meeting as well as what they are discussing.
As always, please contact me anytime with comments, concerns or questions. I can be reached by phone at 651-296-7807 or by email at rep.joann.ward@house.mn. I also invite you to “Like” my Facebook page to learn more about happenings at the Capitol and around our community. You can do so here: https://www.facebook.com/CitizensForJoAnnWard?ref=hl.
JoAnn Ward
“In order to carry a positive action we must develop here a positive vision.” - Dalai Lama


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