With 12 weeks of the legislative session in the books, and six weeks to go, so far the governor has signed just six bills. No vetoes.
Bills passed and signed, so far, according to the governor’s office:
- This state government bill allows ambulance medical directors to authorize staffing levels, and applies to ambulance services based in communities with populations of 2,500 or less. The law allows neighboring ambulance service to be from another state and to provide mutual aid for up to 12 hours per day.
- This state government bill repeals and updates a previous law relating to trusts in Minnesota.
- This state government bill will enhance child protection measures in Minnesota.
- This state government bill provides $15.5 million to maintain basic services across the state.
- This state government bill will provide $17.3 million in flood and disaster relief for Minnesotans.
- This state government bill will simplify tax filing and provide $20 million in immediate tax savings to more than 200,000 middle-income Minnesotans.
That’s just a tiny fraction of the bills introduced this session: According to the Fargo Forum, state representatives have already introduced 2,139 bill and Senators, 2,011 bills.
As for the rest:
Only a small fraction of bills ever makes it to committees. In some cases, there are duplicate bills. There also are times when a legislator introduces a bill to satisfy a constituent, but it has no chance of passage so the lawmaker never seeks a committee hearing. Much of the time, however, bills are folded into bigger ones, known as omnibus bills.
All the big issues remain in play, as the session moves toward a mid-May finish. The budget, says the Forum, won’t be easy, as “Gov. Mark Dayton wants to increase spending for education and other programs. Republicans who control the House want to provide $2 billion in tax breaks, with modest increases in most spending areas. Democrats in charge of the Senate fall in between, and emphasize putting more money in the bank to be ready when the economy heads south.”
Transportation, with Dayton’s plan for a gas tax hike, education funding, a higher-ed tuition-freeze, license plate readers, Sunday liquor sales, rail safety…the list of unresolved issues goes on.
The end game, as the paper notes:
The state Constitution requires them to wrap up by May 18. If legislators and the governor do not have an agreement by then, Dayton can call them back into special session. If there is no budget in place by July 1, there would be a government shutdown.