As lawmakers departed St. Paul for the Easter/Passover holiday break, we successfully met our second deadline. So what does this mean?
The first deadline is for committees to act favorably on bills in the house of origin was March 22. The second deadline is for committees to act favorably on bills, or companions of bills, that met the first deadline in the other house was March 29. The third deadline is for committees to act favorably on major appropriation and finance bills, and this date has been set for April 20.
Because of this, committees have been working hard to consider bills over the last couple of weeks. While we don’t have details yet for any potentially new budget targets in each area of government, I expect that to happen after we return to St. Paul. When that happens, we’ll begin to have a better understanding of how session will come to a successful conclusion.
Noteworthy bills that have recently been approved on the House floor include passing the contracts for state workers, as well as a temporary MNLARS fix.
The program, unveiled in July, has been a disaster for deputy registrars and many Minnesotans who have been unable to secure car titles and registrations in a timely fashion. It’s also been a financial disaster, as Minnesotans have already spent $93 million over ten years on a program that still isn’t fully functional.
While allowing $9.6 million to be allocated from the Department of Vehicle Services accounts in the special revenue fund, we also approved a number of accountability measures that will hopefully prevent more reckless state agency spending. The bill also includes a proposal requiring a request for information to determine whether a private vendor is a better option, and requires the Governor’s administration to seek an extension from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for REAL ID.
Along those lines, I also have a bill moving forward that analyzes how we can alleviate some of the costs that have hurt our auto dealers and local deputy registrars due to this MNLARS fiasco. I’m hopeful that will make it to the House floor for a full debate before session ends.
I wish you all a safe and happy Easter!