STATE & LOCAL GOVERNMENT

BUDGET

The state government omnibus bill spends a total of $1.15 billion in 2020-2021. The bill has a budget target of $66 million over the base, it avoids the multitude of budget cuts proposed by the Senate Republicans, and it provides modest operating increases to many state agencies.

The bill authorizes the full $6.6 million in Help America Vote Act (HAVA) funds and appropriates the remaining required state match. It provides a $6.3 million and $11.5 million operating increase to the Senate and House, respectively, for increased legislator salaries as constitutionally mandated by the Legislative Salary Council. The bill also provides additional resources for cybersecurity, the 2020 Census, and enlistment incentives. The global target is about $14 million less than Governor Walz’s state government budget recommendation.

The Safe at Home program is provided $250,000 in additional funding, and $1.2 million in FY19 is appropriated to reimburse the office for litigation costs relating to the lawsuit against the state regarding wearing political insignia at polling locations. The bill also requires the secretary to maintain a list of voters who voted in the presidential nomination primary and provide the list to the chairs of each major political party that has a national convention; this is narrowed from current language which classifies the list as public data.

HAVA

Despite promising to authorize the secretary of state’s office to utilize $6.6 million in federal HAVA funds for election security purposes early in session, Senate Republicans passed a meager $1.5 million authorization in February and then locked the legislation in conference committee until the 2019 special session. Republicans even refused to participate in House-convened conference committee hearings on the matter. The final special session state government bill includes the full $6.6 million HAVA funding authorization, and the remaining $163,000 state match is appropriated from the general fund.

Election equipment grants

The state government budget included $4 million in election equipment grants, available to counties, cities, towns, and school districts to assist with the purchase of voting equipment.

MN.IT services

$5 million is annually appropriated to MN.IT to secure the state against information technology attacks. IT breaches have become more common throughout the public and private sectors; these funds will help to improve cybersecurity defenses statewide. MN.IT is also required to consider additional cloud computing service options, including security benefits and cost savings.

2020 census

The Department of Administration is allocated $1.6 million to coordinate the 2020 Census through mobilization and outreach. These funds will help to ensure a full count of Minnesotans and possibly avoid the loss of a congressional district to another state.

Military and veteran affairs

$1 million is appropriated annually to the MDMA for enlistment incentives and retention bonus programs. $258,000 is annually provided for reintegration programs for deployed service members. MDVA is allocated $500,000 in the biennial base for the CORE program, which provides mental health services to veterans and $775,000 is allocated to the state veterans cemeteries as an operating adjustment. Additionally, May 14 is designated Hmong Special Guerilla Units Remembrance Day.

______________________________________________________________________________

POLICY PROVISIONS

  • A legislative commission on housing affordability is established
  • In the event of a government shutdown, the Racing Commission is authorized to spend money from the breeder’s fund in the amount of the second year of the most recent biennium
  • The filling of managerial positions must be conducted through fair and open processes without fitting a candidate or identify a particular candidate as the future holder of a position
  • Allows county boards to fill elected auditor, treasurer, recorder, sheriff, county attorney, surveyor, coroner, or board positions in the event of a vacancy.
  • Creates an advisory task force on state employment and retention of employees with disabilities
  • Ratifies the Minnesota Law Enforcement Association and State Board of Investment labor agreements for FY18-19

(See Veterans for more information) (SF 10)

______________________________________________________________________________

PROVISIONS THAT DID NOT PASS

Changing daylight savings time

Legislation failed to pass that would put an end to daylight savings time and create perpetual standard time in Minnesota. This bill would have eliminated the need to “spring forward” and “fall back” each year.

No cuts to the Historical Society budget

Senate Republican’s budget included a $4 million cut per year to the Minnesota Historical Society, claiming they were doing so because the Historical Society has become “highly controversial” and engaging in revisionist history. It turns out their budget cut was in retaliation to the Historical Society’s addition of the word “Bdote” to a welcome sign at the Historic Fort Snelling. The proposed cut did not end up in the final budget.

No funds for redistricting

The final budget bill contains no funds for costs associated with redistricting.

cassiet