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April 25, 2022

A Return to Normal

Last week, the Legislature returned from the Easter/Passover break and their activities resembled a pre-pandemic session.  Members held in-person hearings, attended legislative receptions, and passed the first supplemental omnibus bill of the session. On Thursday, April 21, 2022, the Senate spent roughly five hours debating and amending the Environment Finance omnibus bill, kicking off the first of many long omnibus bill floor debates. The House begun moving omnibus bills out of the Ways & Means Committee and sending them to the floor, and Governor Tim Walz delivered an in-person State of the State address. Only four weeks remain in the legislative session and the majorities of House and Senate remain divided on major issues.  


Governor Walz Gives State of the State Address 

On Sunday, April 24, 2022, Gov. Walz delivered his first in-person State of the State address in over two years. This will be Gov. Walz’ 4th overall speech but only the second in-person, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Touting some of the state’s achievements such as record-low Covid-19 infections, and the historic surplus, Gov. Walz also called on legislators to find common ground to fund the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund’s deficit and Frontline Worker bonus checks. He also laid out key policy goals for his administration which include cutting childcare costs, expanding pre-K, introducing a Paid Family and Medical Leave Program, and immediately returning some of the surplus to Minnesotans, likely in the form of rebate checks.    


House DFL Reveal $7.4 Billion Supplemental Budget Resolution

On Tuesday, April 19, 2022, the House Ways & Means Committee approved the DFL’s supplemental budget resolution on a party line vote. The $7.4 billion plan includes $1.6 billion in tax credits including the extended child credit, student loan credit, and dependent care tax credit. In addition, there is $1 billion in frontline worker bonus pay and a little over $1 billion in new education spending. Republicans criticized the budget package calling it “one sided” as it contained money for frontline worker bonuses, but did not allocate funds to offset the additional taxes on businesses caused by the depleted unemployment insurance trust fund. The resolution advanced to the House floor for final approval.


Senate Passes Environmental Finance Omnibus Bill

On Thursday, April 21, 2022, the Minnesota Senate passed the Environment Finance omnibus bill (S.F. 4062), authored by Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen (R- Alexandria), by a vote of 37-29. The bill appropriates $7 million in additional spending which includes almost $4 million to the Pollution Control Agency, and an additional $1.45 million to Explore Minnesota Tourism. Also featured in the bill is a controversial wolf hunt provision, which requires the Commissioner of the Department of Natural Resources to hold an annual hunt to manage Grey Wolf populations. Several DFL members objected to this  provision arguing it was counterproductive to the preservation of the Grey Wolf population in Minnesota because the animal is still an endangered species. S.F. 4062 now awaits the House  to pass the companion bill  H.F. 4492 (Hansen, DFL, South St. Paul).  Upon the House’s passage the bills differences will be worked out in conference committee.


Gazelka Nabs Major Police Endorsement 

Former Majority Leader and gubernatorial hopeful, Sen. Paul Gazelka (R- East Gull Lake) landed the endorsement of the largest law enforcement association in Minnesota. The Minnesota Peace and Police Officers Association is made up of more than 10,000 law enforcement professionals and has been advocating on behalf of those who work in the profession since 1922. The endorsement comes as Republicans have made public safety a key piece of their campaign strategy for the 2022 election cycle. The Minnesota Republican party will hold its convention on May 13th-14th in Rochester where Sen. Gazelka will vie for the support of delegates against at least seven other contenders. 


Important Dates to Remember

  • May 13-14, 2022: Republican State Convention in Rochester - All statewide constitutional offices endorsed.  (No US Senate race)

  • May 20-22, 2022: DFL State Convention in Rochester - All statewide offices endorsed.  (No US Senate race)

  • May 23, 2022: Session’s Constitutional Mandated Adjournment 

  • May 17 - May 31, 2022: Candidate Filing for all constitutional offices and the MN House and Senate

  • August 9, 2022: Primary Election

  • November 8, 2022: General Election


Federal Update

Congress is Back. After a two-week recess,
the Senate will be back today and the House tomorrow. 


Biden Calls on Congress to Roll Out More Dough for Ukraine

President Joe Biden plans to ask Congress this week for supplemental appropriations to bankroll more military and economic aid for Ukraine.
Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., said the House will “stand ready to act” on the request in a letter to colleagues Friday that listed several priorities for the May legislative work period, including gas prices, pandemic relief, the fiscal 2023 defense policy bill and fiscal 2023 spending bills. 
The House also plans to consider a Senate-passed measure, known as the Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act, introduced by Democrats. It would boost Biden’s authority to enter into agreements to lend or lease weapons to Ukraine, streamlining the process. This follows a visit last week by Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, who met with the president and with Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
Biden has approved another $800 million, already provided by Congress, to send more weapons to Ukraine, including dozens of additional howitzers and drones. That would bring the total amount his administration has spent arming Ukraine to $4 billion. 


Restaurant Aid Still on the Table, but Partisan Foils Remain   

The Senate may soon test the bipartisan limits on pandemic spending as Democratic leaders prepare to bring to the floor a small-business aid package with provisions that have independently enjoyed support from both parties. 

The bulk of the package is $40 billion to replenish the Restaurant Revitalization Fund. Congress enacted that grant program in a 2021 pandemic relief package with a $28.6 billion appropriation, but only one-third of qualified applicants received money before funds ran dry. Bipartisan support quickly built for another cash infusion to ensure the other two-thirds of qualified restaurants, bars and other food service businesses received at least some aid.

But the collective $48 billion package faces strong headwinds in an inflation-fueled, election year environment where many Republicans are loath to support new spending that isn’t fully offset. 

The business aid package, led by Small Business Chair Benjamin L. Cardin, D-Md., and Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., has only $5 billion in offsets — from unspent funds in the lapsed Paycheck Protection Program — barely one-tenth of the total spending.

That program offered small businesses forgivable loans to keep workers on the payroll during shutdowns. While more than a dozen Senate Democrats say they support the bill, not a single Republican besides Wicker has committed to backing it. 


Republican AGs Look to Court to Preserve Title 42   

The government already has started scaling back expulsions of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border as part of a plan to end pandemic-related asylum restrictions next month, and a group of Republican officials want a federal judge in Louisiana to step in.

Attorneys general from 21 states want a court order that requires the administration to continue expelling migrants who cross the southwest border under the public health directive, known as Title 42.

The Biden administration has announced plans to fully lift the restrictions May 23. The states, including Arizona, Louisiana, Georgia and others, say ending Title 42 will cause a dramatic increase in migration and “inflict devastating injuries upon the Plaintiff States and the entire nation.”

Those states argue that the ongoing wind-down ahead of May 23 is causing those harms now. 

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have charged the administration with failing to properly plan for the directive’s termination, which they warn could spur a significant migration influx. This could provide fodder for Republicans to batter vulnerable Democrats in the midterm elections.

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


Our Team

Margaret Vesel



Peter Coyle



Peder Larson



Robert Long



Bill Griffith


Matthew Bergeron



Gerald Seck



Grady Harn


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Megan Knight


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Brandan Strickland


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Larkin Hoffman provides counsel to a wide variety of ‎organizations, from ‎small businesses and nonprofits to  Fortune 500 companies, in ‎many areas of practice including ‎corporate and governance matters, litigation, real ‎estate, government relations, labor and employment, intellectual property, ‎information technology, ‎franchising and taxation. The firm also serves the needs of individuals in many ‎areas ‎including trusts and estates, personal injury and family law.


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