Senate passes Commerce and Energy budgets with many key provisions missing

On April 14th, 2021 the Minnesota Senate passed SF 972, an omnibus finance and policy bill containing both commerce and consumer protection and energy provisions. After voting on the bill, Senate DFL Commerce Committee Lead Senator Melisa Franzen (DFL- Edina) and Senate DFL Energy Committee Lead Senator Nick Frentz (DFL- North Mankato) released the following statements:

“I voted against Senate File 972 on the floor today because I am disappointed for the missed opportunities that Senate Republicans left out of this bill. Chair Dahms refused to hear critically needed proposals to prevent price gouging during a pandemic, to combat the widespread rise in catalytic converter theft, and to protect consumers from unscrupulous debt collectors,” said Senator Melisa Franzen. “Most concerning of all is that SF 972 contains $150 million in funding handed to health insurance companies to ask- not require- that health premiums be kept lower. Thankfully, this is not the final step, and I stand ready to work with Senate Republicans, the House, and Governor Walz to improve this bill before the end of session this year.”

Senate File 972 was heard in the Senate Commerce and Consumer Protection Finance and Policy Committee on less than a 24 hour notice. The public was given little time to testify, and the committee heard the bill for just 30 minutes. Senate File 972 was amended in the Senate Finance Committee to also include policy and spending provisions from the Senate Energy omnibus budget that were originally contained in SF 2075. Senator Nick Frentz, the Senate DFL Lead on the Energy and Utilities Finance and Policy Committee released the following statement:

“There is some good news in the Senate energy budget, like solar production credits and my bill to create a revolving loan fund for energy efficient projects in state buildings. However, while there are portions of SF 972 that I am happy to support, I do have serious concerns about what is not in the budget proposal passed off the Senate floor today,” said Senator Nick Frentz. “The energy spending and policy provisions that are not included in this bill mean that SF 972 falls desperately short of what our state needs to combat climate change and build a carbon-free energy future in Minnesota. I look forward to ongoing negotiations and discussions about Minnesota’s energy priorities, and I am proud to stand for 100% renewable energy in Minnesota by 2040 and the Energy Conservation and Optimization (ECO) provisions that had bipartisan support last year but were left out of the Senate Republican budget that passed today.”

Senator Nick Frentz
Nick Frentz represents Senate District 19, which includes portions of Blue Earth, Le Sueur, and Nicollet counties in the south central part of the state.

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Senator Franzen
Melisa Franzen represents District 49 in the southwest Twin Cities metropolitan area.

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