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Legislative Updates & Alerts

During the legislative session, MNAAP members receive bi-weekly legislative updates emailed to them from the chapter’s policy chair and lobbyist.

The 2022 session runs from Jan. 31 through mid to late May. 

April 13, 2022

MNAAP members had an opportunity to testify in support of the House Early Education Omnibus Bill, which contains initiatives that align with the chapter’s strategic priority interests in early childhood development and education.

Education and care in the early, formative years of a child’s life have a measurable impact on their future. All of Minnesota’s infants and children deserve programs and systems that build a solid foundation that enables them to reach their maximum potential.

Chapter President Sheldon Berkowitz, MD, FAAP, and Early Childhood Work Group Co-Chair Roger Sheldon, MD, FAAP, shared their feedback on the bill with the House Early Childhood Finance and Policy Committee on Wednesday, April 6. You can view their testimonies with this YouTube link.

March 28, 2022

MNAAP sent a letter to leadership in both the House and Senate indicating strong support for increased funding for early childhood initiatives, MNAAP’s top legislative priority this session. These initiatives enhance the health, education, care and opportunity of our youngest Minnesotans.

Given the $9.25 billion budget surplus, MNAAP argued now is the time for significant investment in early childhood initiatives. Portions of these investments are moving in the House of Representatives but have yet to move in the Minnesota Senate.

 

January 31, 2022

This is a summary only. To receive full legislative updates on a biweekly basis, you must be a member of MNAAP. The emails provide additional details about legislative issues that are not posted on our website and are for members only.

Legislature Starts with New Leadership

The Minnesota Legislature reconvenes on Monday, January 31 with several new key players. In the Senate, there will be new leaders for both caucuses – Senate Majority Leader Jeremy Miller (R-Winona) and Senate Minority Leader Melisa López Franzen (DFL-Edina). Miller takes over for Paul Gazelka (R-Brainerd), who is running for governor. López Franzen takes over for Sen. Susan Kent (DFL- Woodbury), who is not seeking re-election.

The House leadership remains largely the same, but 23 legislators have already announced they are not seeking re-election, including House Ways and Means Committee chair Rep. Rena Moran (DFL-St. Paul) and House Tax Committee chair Paul Marquart (DFL-Moorhead). Seven of those legislators are seeking other offices.

Governor’s Supplemental Budget Reflects Investment in Kids

Governor Tim Walz unveiled parts of his supplemental budget proposal last week. The $5.1 billion proposal would fund several programs aimed for Minnesota’s children, families, and schools over three years. The proposal also includes expansion of childcare access, additional pre-K funding, $183 million for free student meals and $77 million for mental health services.

Legislature to Meet Mostly Virtually

Speaker of the House Melissa Hortman (DFL-Brooklyn Park) announced the House will meet predominantly virtually this session, with floor sessions being in-person and committee rooms available to members if needed. The State Office Building, where representatives have their offices, will be closed to the public. Speaker Hortman noted that this may change as health and safety conditions evolve. The Senate is expected to hold more hybrid committee meetings, with some in-person options available, but senators’ offices in the Senate Office Building are accessible by invitation only.

January 19, 2022

Chad Fahning, MNAAP Lobbyist

Nearing the end of 2021, a time when words like “Delta variant,” “vaccine hesitancy,” and “I think you’re muted” were all regularly used, plenty of Minnesotans are hoping for a more normal 2022. From a political perspective however, I am here to tell you that won’t likely happen for a variety of reasons.

Split Government and Unfinished Business

Minnesota still has the sole split-legislature in the nation. With Republicans retaining a majority in the Senate and DFLers in control of the House, Minnesota is entering its fourth straight session of split government. The split hasn’t forced either side into many compromises in recent years, and lawmakers will enter 2022 with additional unfinished business from the interim.

Following the 2021 session, a bipartisan working group was tasked with developing a recommendation for the $250 million set aside for the state’s frontline workers who suffered during the pandemic. The recommendation was due by Sept. 6 with the idea that the governor would call a special session and both bodies would pass the working group’s recommendation. The deadline came and went, the working group had no report to offer, and no special session was called.

On top of that, GOP members in the Senate threatened to reject the confirmation of Minnesota Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm amidst discussions of school and employer vaccine mandates. Governor Tim Walz stated he would not call a special session without assurances that Malcolm won’t be removed – something Republican senators were not willing to agree to. The $250 million will not and cannot be distributed without the legislature being in session to approve it. That will need to wait until the legislature convenes on Jan. 31, when Republicans could also vote to remove the health commissioner from her present post.

Virtual Session in the House

Minnesota Speaker of the House Melissa Hortman (DFL-Brooklyn Park), announced in a letter to House members and staff that the House will continue remote and hybrid operations through the end of the 2022 legislative session. Hortman also noted the policy could change “as health and safety conditions evolve.”  According to the letter, there will be at least a 30-day notice prior to any change. There has not been formal communication regarding the Senate’s plans for operations, but it is believed the Senate will likely meet in-person at the Capitol.

Elections and New Senate Leadership

With no constitutional requirement to pass a state budget and the 2022 elections on the horizon, the second half of the biennium is typically less active than the first. All 201 legislators will be on the ballot in 2022, along with the governor. Two legislators, Senator Paul Gazelka (R-Nisswa) and Senator Michelle Benson (R-Ham Lake) announced their gubernatorial candidacies this fall, joining former State Senator Scott Jensen as frontrunners to challenge Governor Walz. When he announced his candidacy, Gazelka stepped down as majority leader and Senator Jeremy Miller (R-Winona) was selected to take his place. Simultaneously, Senate Minority Leader Susan Kent (DFL-Woodbury) announced she would not seek re-election in 2022, leading to the DFL caucus selecting Senator Melisa López Franzen (DFL-Edina) as the new minority leader. 

The new leadership will have plenty on their plates as the entire legislature discusses their priorities going into the 2022 session. Similarly, please stay tuned to newsletters and updates as the MNAAP 2022 legislative priorities are finalized and announced.

September 28, 2021

MNAAP is a leading voice on children’s health issues at the Minnesota Capitol. The start of the 2022 Minnesota legislative session is still a few months away, but MNAAP is using this downtime to prepare to make the most of our advocacy on behalf of Minnesota’s children.

All members are invited to join the MNAAP Policy Roundtable discussion on Thursday, October 21, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. to discuss the issues that the chapter may focus on during the 2021 legislative session.

MNAAP’s policy co-chairs, Sue Berry, MD, FAAP, and Hannah Lichtsinn, MD, FAAP, will facilitate the virtual conversation focused on identifying policy priorities for the Board to consider based on member feedback, legislative viability and other considerations. The ideas that come from the roundtable discussion may also help the MNAAP board decide on the chapter’s strategic goals for the next three years. The roundtable is the perfect opportunity to share your perspective on the issues that the MNAAP should focus on at the Capitol during the upcoming legislative session.

Can’t make the roundtable? We’re still interested in hearing from you about what advocacy topics are important to you.

Click here to RSVP for the roundtable and/or provide your perspective.

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