Conference committees for each of the omnibus budget bills have been appointed and began working this week. Those committees are comprised of five House members and five Senate members and are tasked with working out differences between each chamber’s version of a bill, which then will be sent to the Governor for consideration.
Updates on conference committees are posted at this link on the legislative website: https://www.leg.mn.gov/leg/cc/. From there, click on each bill to see a full listing of all meetings and meeting materials that have been distributed to this point. Below is a short summary of developments for each committee this week:
Agriculture (SF 958): Met all week, adopted some identical language. Heard testimony and overview on a number of the various provisions funded in the bill. Work on adopting compromise language on differing provisions is expected to begin next week.
Commerce/Energy (SF 972): Met Monday, Tuesday, Thursday. Reviewed documents and heard energy-related testimony. No action.
Housing (HF 1077): The Conference Committee reviewed the House and Senate language as well as compared the spreadsheets. Additionally, public testimony was heard.
Jobs and Economic Development (SF 1098): The conference committee met several times this week and adopted some identical and similar language. Committee members also heard testimony and discussed several House only provisions (Paid Family Leave, Sick and Safe Time, Workers Emergency Leave, Emergency Rehire and Retention, Essential Workers Emergency Leave, Safe Workplaces for Meat and Poultry Processing Workers).
Judiciary (SF 970): Spent the first half of the week walking through the side by sides. House made the first offer on some identical or similar language, as well as on two noncontroversial House-only provisions. House also made an offer on police reform legislation on Thursday afternoon – Senate has not responded to either offers as of Thursday afternoon. See “House moving forward on police reform legislation, unclear if Senate will follow” for more information.
State Government (HF 1952): Met each day to discuss the bills, took testimony from agencies, and adopted similar language related to the Campaign Finance Board and MN.IT Services.
Taxes (HF 991): Met each day to discuss details of the bills. Adopted the Public Finance Article, which is identical, noncontroversial language with no fiscal impact.
Transportation (HF 1648): Met each day to discuss details of the bills, took testimony from MnDOT, DPS, and the Met Council, and have adopted identical language and some similar language without fiscal implications.
Health and Human Services (HF 2128): Meetings began Wednesday with a high level overview of the House and Senate budget items and section by section overview of articles from both bills. No action has been taken thus far.
Environment (SF 959): Met at the beginning of the week for a walkthrough and took testimony from the agencies. Met again on Thursday when the House had the gavel; Sen. Ingebrigtsen presented the Senate offer during the first 10 minutes of the hearing, and all Senate conferees left immediately thereafter. Senate Republicans maintain they will not pass a budget unless movement is taken against the PCA’s Clean Cars rulemaking. Nothing was adopted.
E-12 Education (HF1065): The E-12 Education conference committee met each day this week, but so far has accomplished much toward negotiating a final agreement. The two bills are far apart on funding with a $620.5 million gap between the two. This week, the conference committee went through the bills and spreadsheets and herd from early childhood and racial equity experts. The House presented an offer of same/similar language. No actions were taken yet on that proposal.
Higher Education (SF975): Higher education conference committee met once this week, taking testimony from stakeholders. Same/similar language provisions were adopted last week. Chair Tomassoni has stated he will wait to meet until the funding targets have been announced.