First off, congratulations to ROCORI’s 2021 Support Staff of the Year winners:
As for news from the House, we are in the thick of budget negotiations in an attempt to find agreement on a new two-year state spending plan before our May 17 date for adjournment. All 12 of the House’s omnibus finance bills have received preliminary approval and are in the hands of conference committees working to reconcile differences between House and Senate proposals.
Things will remain fluid at the Capitol between now and the end of session as the two bodies look to find compromise on a new two-year budget. It remains clear that a wide gap to the approach each body has taken on taxes presents a formidable challenge in reaching an agreement. This is especially true in regard to packages on transportation and taxes, where the House majority is looking to raise taxes and fees by more than $2.5 billion at a time the state has a historic surplus. Here is more:
Health, human services, and early childcare
A bill related to health, human services, and early childhood (H.F. 2128) was the last of the omnibus bills to come to the House floor on Monday. I am pleased to see legislation (H.F. 61) I authored to assist childcare providers with licensing, compliance, providing recommendations for improvement, provider education and more through a new Office of Ombudsperson for Child Care Providers was included.
Unfortunately, the overall bill continues to expand government-run healthcare and imposes burdensome new mandates that drive up the cost of health care for Minnesota families, so I voted against it. I will continue advocating for my ombudsperson language to remain in the mix for final passage in the hopes the total package comes back as something worthy of bipartisan support.
Law enforcement funding
The House and Senate on Tuesday passed $7.8 million to provide funding for public safety assistance costs in the Twin Cities, sending the bill to Gov. Walz's desk for approval.
The bill provides $1.5 million in funding to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety for the Emergency Management Assistance Compact to reimburse out-of-state law enforcement who traveled to the Twin Cities to provide assistance for the Derek Chauvin trial. An additional $6.3 million is provided for State Patrol Trooper and DNR Conservation Officer expenses related to civil unrest.
House Republicans put up unanimous support for final passage of the bill and it was approved 107-25. It is good this bill passed to ensure we had the resources needed to keep our communities safe.
Until next time, have a good weekend and please stay in touch.