Committee Deadlines Affect Legislative Agenda
There are less than three weeks left in the legislative session. Bills are starting to die, and the list of topics that can continue to be debated is being narrowed down due to committee deadlines.
In the Minnesota legislature, bills can be introduced at any time, but committee action each year is limited. The last committee deadline on the calendar is this coming Friday, May 6th. After that day, without a waiver by the Rules committee, the agenda will be set.
Three are three committee deadlines each year. The first (April 29th) is for committees to act favorably on bills in the body of origin. The second (May 6th) is for committees to act favorably on bills, or companions of bills, that met the first deadline in the other body. The third (March 25th) is for committees to act favorably on major appropriation and finance bills. Third deadline was actually the earliest this year.
This year, Senator Reinert has chief authored eleven bills, and was a co-author on thirty more.
One of Senator Reinert’s oldest initiatives, transferring the Aquarium to UMD (SF72) along with the Aquarium Grant Appropriation (SF73) which would pay off the debt, was introduced back in January. Neither bill was heard in committee before the deadline. In addition, Substitute Legislator (SF140) was also not heard. This bill was overwhelmingly approved in the Minnesota House in 2010.
The Income Tax Reciprocity Study (SF122) and Reciprocity Agreement Negotiation Requirement (SF802) bills were included in the Omnibus tax bill. These bills reinstate income tax reciprocity with Wisconsin and set up a framework for negotiations, along with making it impossible for the Governor to rescind future agreements without legislative approval. The Omnibus bill is currently in conference committee. Income tax reciprocity between Minnesota and Wisconsin is highly likely to be reinstated for tax year 2012.
Liquor sales on Sunday (SF197) was heard and passed by the Senate Commerce committee, which was the first time the proposal had been passed out of a Senate committee in history. However, its partner legislation (HF375) has not yet been heard in the House. In order to progress, this would need to happen before Friday. The chair of the House Commerce committee has said publicly that he will not hear the bill.
To continue to track the status of Senator Reinert’s bills, or any bill that has been introduced in the legislature this year, go to http://www.senate.mn/ and click on “bills.”