Deficiency funding bill signed into law

UPDATED 1:30 p.m., Friday, Feb. 27

Gov. Mark Dayton signed the deficiency bill Thursday night, which started as a bill to provide deficiency funding for several state agencies but ended up as a bill to rein in Gov. Mark Dayton’s move to increase salaries of state agency heads.

The final bill signed into law took all of the House language relating to the agreement with Gov. Dayton regarding commissioner compensation. This includes the salary freeze and the reduction of salaries for the three commissioners requesting deficiency funding. The salary freeze language in the House is effective upon final enactment but applies to salary increases in excess of the previous calendar year, while the Senate language was previous fiscal year.

The House language to rescind the power of the governor to set agency head salaries was adopted and is effective July 2, 2015. With the salary freeze lifted June 30, 2015, this provides Gov. Dayton with the ability to determine agency head salaries (within the 133% maximum) on July 1, 2015 for one day.

Minnesota Management and Budget (MMB) had an amendment approved to make it clear that the salary increases on July 1, 2015 are not automatic. This amendment also includes the MAC Board Chair in the salary freeze language and subsequent freeze lift on June 30, 2015. The legislature and LCC are required to approve any future commissioner salary increases.

Additionally, the bill would provide the following stop-gap funding:

  • $10.68 million to the Department of Human Services for the Minnesota Food Assistance Program ($246,000) and the Minnesota Security Hospital in St. Peter ($10.44 million);
  • $2.89 million to the Department of Health for costs of statewide Ebola activities and for grants to certain hospitals for Ebola-related expenditures;
  • $1.35 million for Minnesota Zoo operations: and
  • $568,000 to the natural resources for law enforcement.

The Senate passed the final measure 35 to 29 on Thursday. (S.F. 174)

Senate DFL Media