Skip to main content Skip to office menu Skip to footer
Minnesota Legislature

Nearly billion-dollar omnibus state government finance bill gets division OK

Rep. Tony Albright, left, confers with Rep. Michael Nelson, chair of the House State Government Finance Division, before it began to take up dozens of amendments to its omnibus bill April 9. Photo by Paul Battaglia

Elections changes, additional cybersecurity funding and a nearly $102.53 million spending increase over base are all part of the omnibus state government finance bill approved on a split-voice vote Tuesday night by the House State Government Finance Division.

An audience member checks out documents April 9 before the House State Government Finance Division begins to take up dozens of amendments to its omnibus bill. Photo by Paul Battaglia

Scheduled to be heard Friday by the House Ways and Means Committee, HF1935, as amended, would spend nearly $987.39 million from the General Fund in the 2020-21 biennium. Its proposed base increase is $13 million more than the budget proposed by Gov. Tim Walz.

Introduced at Monday’s meeting, the bill is sponsored by Rep. Michael Nelson (DFL-Brooklyn Park), the division chair.

“Every member around this table except one has a provision in this bill,” said Rep. Tony Albright (R-Prior Lake). He said the added amendments improved the final product.

Of the nearly 50 amendments offered to the bill Tuesday; 21 were approved, including:

  • a county board would be able to appoint the county auditor, treasurer or recorder rather than first needling legislative approval to do so;
  • ratification of a labor agreement for 2017-18 between the state and the union representing state troopers, with back pay forthcoming if approved;
  • clarification language on spending of federal Help America Vote Act funds by the Office of the Secretary of State;
  • a business entity could have its address omitted from display on the secretary of state’s website, in part, if an address provided “is the residential address of the sole shareholder, manager, member, or owner”;
  • permitting a state agency to provide opportunities for user acceptance testing of “a new information technology business software application or new business software application functionality that significantly impacts the operations of a primary user”; and
  • reducing from 10 percent to 5 percent the amount of grant money a regional arts council receives from the State Arts Board that can be used for travel outside the state.

Finances

Among its increases, the House bill calls for a $24.1 million more for MN.IT services, mostly for enhancements to cybersecurity across state government; $11.5 million more for the House of Representatives, largely due to member salary increases established by the Legislative Salary Council; $8.92 million more for Minnesota Management and Budget, of which $5.5 million would be for system security and risk management; and $2 million for Minnesota Census 2020 mobilization.

An extra $700,000 is included to create an Office of Public Engagement in the governor’s office. In his supplemental budget, Walz removed the funding, but Nelson said House Speaker Melissa Hortman (DFL-Brooklyn Park) wanted the appropriation back in the bill.

[MOREView the spreadsheet]

Elections

With an aim of making state elections safer and more accessible to all Minnesotans, much of the omnibus elections bill has been rolled into the omnibus state government finance bill, including the restoration of voting rights to people who have been convicted of a felony once they complete their incarceration; a way for Minnesotans to be automatically registered to vote when applying for a Minnesota driver’s license, state identification card, or learner’s permit; appropriating $6 million in federal Help America Vote Act grant funding for election system security improvements; permitting all local governments to use ranked-choice voting for local officials; and establishing a Redistricting Advisory Commission to draw and recommend new congressional and legislative district boundaries after each census.

An amendment by Albright to remove the elections provisions went down on a party-line vote, as did another amendment offered by Albright to remove election sections that do not have bipartisan support.  

State government operations

Proposed changes in the operation of state government include eliminating the Legislative Budget Office, which was established in 2017; establish a legislative employee working group to assist the Legislature in identifying accessibility needs related to its IT services; establish a program to provide a U.S. and Minnesota state flag flown over the State Capitol to families of public safety officers killed in the line of duty, and families of members of the military who died while in active service; and allowing small businesses to be certified by a nationally recognized certifying organization in order to participate in the state’s small business and small targeted group business programs.

Sen. Mary Kiffmeyer (R-Big Lake) sponsors the Senate omnibus budget bill. SF2227 was scheduled to be acted on Tuesday by the Senate State Government Finance and Policy and Elections Committee.

 

 

 


Related Articles


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.

Minnesota House on Twitter