At the Capitol: Minnesota Lawmakers Prepare to Return for Special Session
On June 9, 2021 by Matt Steele
With Governor Walz expected to call a special session on Monday, lawmakers worked this past week, mostly behind closed doors, to iron out differences in the two-year budget. By Monday, June 7, only three committees--Commerce and Energy, Legacy, and Higher Education--had publicly announced their joint budget agreements. Here is what you need to know about what is happening at the capitol this week:
Where things are at
We know that lawmakers are close to agreement in several other areas and are working behind closed doors to have public proposals completed before June 14. Like last week, very little progress has occurred on advancing partisan policy provisions. Governor Walz and Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka stated, however, that they would not allow these policy provisions to hold up passing a state budget. We continue to hear reports that the Health and Human Services (HHS) area of the budget remains the most challenging for lawmakers to complete, with numerous provisions still undecided and each party publicly making negative statements about the other’s negotiating offers. In particular, a proposal that remains unresolved is the background check waiver bill. We are optimistic that agreements on Hero Pay and an Elderly Waiver rate increase can be reached when the HHS committee negotiations near completion.
Where things are going
Legislative leaders announced that committees have until June 9 to agree on differences surrounding key policy and budget provisions such as policing reform, paid family leave, clean car standards, and frontline worker protections. Following June 9, all unresolved budget and policy areas will be elevated to legislative leadership and the Governor to resolve. Once the budget and policy deals are reached, lawmakers will prepare their final bills for passage during the June 14 special session. Staff and legislators will have a short sixteen-day timeline to pass the two-year budget to avoid a government shutdown by July 1.
What to Watch
We continue to be optimistic about Hero Pay's inclusion in a final budget deal as we have become aware of its inclusion in budget discussions. However, we encourage you to make your voices heard to ensure its inclusion in the budget. Join us in asking Governor Walz to add Hero Pay in the final budget deal through participating in LeadingAge Minnesota's most recent action alert found here.