The State Government Finance Omnibus Bill passed off the Senate Floor on Friday, June 25. While the bill includes important policy provisions and necessary funding for critical state agencies, a surprise poison pill amendment was added by Senate Republicans to end the governor’s emergency powers on July 1, while Governor Walz has announced he will end his emergency powers on August 1. Ending the FEMA-mandated emergency powers will cost Minnesota $90 million in federal funding that is primarily dedicated to low-income assistance. Senate Republicans further prevented a popular non-partisan amendment to fund Greater Minnesota County Attorney’s requests to the Attorney General’s office for assistance in prosecuting serious criminal cases.
In response, Senator Jim Carlson (DFL-Eagan), ranking DFL-lead on the State Government Finance and Policy and Elections Committee, released the following statement:
“When the Senate State Government Omnibus Bill came to the Senate floor during the regular session I strongly opposed the bill. The bill included harmful voter suppression efforts such as voter ID, provisional and challenged ballots, and limited early voting. Together with my colleagues in the House, the DFL was able to remove voter suppression measures from the consensus Special Session bill. I applaud the working group for the improved state government budget bill introduced during the 2021 Special Session that includes necessary funding for our local election administrators, combatting wage theft, preventing veteran homelessness, and the long-awaited Veterans Restorative justice Act.
While the working group negotiated an adequate state government bill going into the special session, Senate Majority Leader Gazelka and Senate Republicans added a poison pill amendment that furthers Minnesota’s state government budget delay by amending the bill and stripping it of its ability to be signed by Governor Walz before the June 30 deadline. Though the Majority Leader has previously said he would not support provisions that could bring us to a government shutdown, this amendment breaks that word, delays final action, making a shutdown much more likely. It is my hope that the House strips this provision from the bill and sends us a clean bill back, and that the Senate adheres to the workgroup agreement.