Minnesota Legislative Session Adjourns with Job Unfinished
On May 26, 2022 by Erin Huppert
Minnesota lawmakers adjourned on Monday without passing several high-priority omnibus bills, including education, taxes, public safety, and, most notably, the Health and Human Services (HHS) spending bill.
While negotiations continued in each area, the clock ran out before lawmakers could achieve consensus. While the legislature was not statutorily required to pass a supplemental budget this year, it is extraordinarily disappointing that they left so much unfinished.
LeadingAge Minnesota staff played a part in the negotiation process throughout the final weekend to find an agreement on funding to increase base wages for caregivers within the Health and Human Services spending bill. The Senate remained firm on its position: $358 million over three years. By contrast, the public offers from the House and Governor's office were critically insufficient to address the severity of our crisis. As it stands now, with no HHS spending bill going to the Governor, the promise of aging services remains at serious risk.
What Happens Next?
The Governor has indicated that he would be willing to call a special session if legislators can complete their work. Legislative leaders would need to sign off on a pre-negotiated deal for that to happen. Reaching an agreement will be challenging. There is no requirement to stick to the original global budget framework ($4 billion in tax relief, $4 billion in spending, $4 billion to keep on the bottom line), and leaders will face a great deal of pressure from within their caucuses to go back to the drawing board.
For now, legislators have returned home to their districts, where they need to face anger from constituents and stakeholders about their unfinished business. On behalf of Minnesota's one million seniors, we must convince them that the risk of doing nothing is greater than the potential political advantage of waiting until January 2023.
With 23,000 open positions, 450 settings at risk of closure and 14,000 seniors at risk of losing access to care, time is of the essence. Contact Gov. Walz today; urge him to send lawmakers back to finish their work.