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February 15, 2019

Legislative Leadership & Governor Announce Roadmap for Session

At a joint press conference on Monday, Democratic Gov. Tim Walz, Speaker Melissa Hortman (DFL-Brooklyn Park) and Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka (R-Nisswa) announced a bipartisan plan to work cooperatively toward a smooth conclusion of the 2019 session.  According to lawmakers, the new schedule of deadlines announced this week is intended to help avoid the need for special legislative sessions or even a potential state government shutdown. Special sessions have been needed in three of the last four budget years and, in 2011, the state endured the longest government shutdown in state history.   

These new deadlines, along with the committee deadlines announced by legislative leadership in early February, provide a clear timeline as to how the 2019 session is intended to progress. The complete calendar of deadlines is as follows:

 Friday, March 15 — Committees must act favorably on bills in the house of origin.

Friday, March 29 — Committees must act favorably on bills, or companions of bills, that met the first deadline in the other body.

Friday, April 12 — Committees must act favorably on major appropriation and finance bills.

April 13-April 22 — Legislative recess for Easter/Passover holidays.

Wednesday, May 1 — Major appropriation and finance bills are to be passed by the respective bodies.

Monday, May 6 — Chairs of major appropriation and finance conference committees will receive the final budget targets.

Monday, May 13 — Conference committees must reach agreement and send conference committee reports to each body for final vote.

Monday, May 20, 2019‎ — Minnesota Legislature required to adjourn session.‎ 

Senate at Full Strength, Special Election for House of Representatives Scheduled 

State On Wednesday, former state Rep. Jason Rarick was sworn in as the 67th senator and increasing the Senate republican majority to 35-32. Rarick won a special election last week in Senate District 11 defeating Democrat Stu Lourey. The seat was vacated when Lourey’s father, Commissioner Tony Lourey, resigned to take over the Minnesota Department of Human Services. 
However, Rarick’s victory creates another vacancy, this time in the Minnesota House of Representatives. The special election for House District 11B will be held on March 19, with a primary on March 5 if necessary. The filing period begins today and ends on Tuesday, February 19, per the Secretary of State.

Highlights from the Week

With committees now in full swing, a number of higher-profile pieces of legislation were heard and passed out of committee this week. Some of the more notable bills include: 

Net Neutrality: On Thursday, the House Commerce Committee heard HF 136 (Stephenson) which would prohibit state internet service providers from deciding what online content is readily available to consumers.The bill allows service providers to continue prioritizing file types to maintain traffic flow, but prohibits them from altering flow based on data content.  Violators of this prohibition would face the loss of government contracts in addition to legal penalties. The bill was approved by the Commerce Committee and re-referred to the House Ways and Means Committee.The companion, SF 317, sponsored by Sen. Ron Latz (DFL-St. Louis Park), awaits action by the Senate Energy and Utilities Finance and Policy Committee.

Earned Sick and Safe Time:  On Wednesday, the House Labor Committee heard HF 11 (Lesch) which would require providers to provide earned paid sick leave to employees. The bill requires employees to earn, at a minimum, one hour of paid, earned sick time for every 30 hours worked, up to 48 hours per year. The bill was passed on a 10-4 vote and re-referred to the House Government Operations Committee. It has currently no Senate companion.

Prescription Drug Price Transparency: This week Sen. Julie Rosen (R-Vernon Center) and Rep. Kelly Morrison (DFL-Deephaven) introduced legislation (SF 1098/HF 1246) which would require drug manufacturers to disclose price information for drugs they produce and justify price increases. Both bills were referred to their respective Health & Human Services committees and demonstrate the legislature’s continued focus on the role prescription drugs play in the state’s health care system. 

Please reach out to any of the Larkin Hoffman Government Relations team members with any questions.


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