In odd numbered years, the Minnesota Legislature focuses mostly on setting the next biennium’s budget. The February Forecast showed us facing a $627 million deficit.
Budget bills are not the only legislation being considered. Policy proposals are being heard, debated and moved through the committee process. To help keep moving bills forward, we impose committee deadlines.
Friday, March 15 marks the first committee deadline. By this date, legislation must have made it through all relevant policy committees in either the House or the Senate in order to be considered alive. Bills that do not meet those criteria will only be considered through special action.
The following Friday, March 22, is the second deadline. At that time all legislation must have been vetted by relevant policy committees in both the House and Senate in order to be considered viable. Again, bills that have not met those criteria are dead for the year.
April 19 marks the third and final deadline. By then, all legislation with a fiscal impact must have been reviewed by the Tax or Finance Committee in order to move forward. Following the third deadline, time is reserved in both chambers for voting on bills that made it through the committee process.
Bills passed off the House and Senate floors that are not identical head to conference committees. Conference committees are comprised of 3-5 members from both the House and Senate. After the conference committees finish their work, the reconciled bills are given a final vote in both chambers and sent to the Governor for his signature.