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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. 

November 15, 2022

By Chad Fahning, MNAAP Lobbyist

DFL incumbents Governor Tim Walz and Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan were reelected to serve four more years in office. The DFL constitutional officers all went DFL as well, with Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, Secretary of State Steve Simon, and State Auditor Julie Blaha all winning reelection. In his concession, Walz’s challenger Scott Jensen, MD said it best: “Republicans, quite frankly, didn’t have a red wave. It was a blue wave.”

Minnesotans reelected a DFL majority in the Minnesota House of Representatives (70 DFL, 64 R) and flipped the Senate (34 DFL, 33 R) to give the DFL control of the House, Senate, and Governor’s office – something unseen since 2014.

Three physicians – Matt Klein, MD, Kelly Morrison, MD, and Alice Mann, MD – were elected, all to the Senate. Three candidates made history: Erin Maye Quade, Clare Oumou Verbeten, and Zaynab Mohamed became the first Black women ever elected to the Senate. Mohamed is also the youngest woman elected to the Senate at age 25. Leigh Finke became the first trans person to serve on the Minnesota legislature, and Alicia Kozlowski became Minnesota’s first non-binary legislator. Both will serve in the
Minnesota House.

Minnesotans voted in 71 non-incumbent legislators, making up a significant portion of the 201 total seats. Fifty-seven of those have never served in either body at any point.

In the days following the election, the caucuses announced leadership positions. Sen. Kari Dziedzic was voted to be the majority leader in the Senate. They also voted Sen. Bobby Joe Champion as president of the Senate and Sen. Ann Rest to chair the Tax Committee and Sen. John Marty to chair the Finance Committee. Mark Johnson was voted as the new minority leader in the Senate. Other positions will be announced in the coming weeks.


In the House, Rep. Melissa Hortman will remain speaker. Rep. Jamie Long was elected as the new majority leader. The House Republicans voted Rep. Lisa Demuth as the new House minority leader.

The DFL’s flipping control of the state Senate breaks Minnesota’s four-year streak of a divided legislature. The 93rd Minnesota legislature convenes on January 3, 2023. DFLers, who now hold “the trifecta” of power, will be charged with approving a state budget with a likely $9+ billion budget surplus before adjourning on May 22, 2023.

MNAAP will be sending biweekly updates throughout the legislative session.

October 24, 2022
Chad Fahning, MNAAP Lobbyist

As the leaves turn and we wave goodbye to summer, we also bid adieu to the likelihood of a special session in Minnesota. Labor Day typically marks the time when legislators are fully out of legislating mode and fully emersed in their door-knocking, fundraising, and other campaign events.

With that, the record-setting $9.3 billion budget surplus will likely sit idle until the 93rd Minnesota Legislature gavels in on Jan. 3. The 93rd legislature will look much different than the 92nd. With redistricting this past spring – an event that occurs following the census to reflect population shifts – many legislators retired after finding themselves in a politically unfriendly district or being paired in the same district with another member. Estimates expect over one-third of the Minnesota Legislature not to return again in 2023. With that comes immense loss of legislative and policy expertise, but also great opportunity and hope for movement on important issues in the future.

Very few of MNAAP’s legislative policy priorities passed this past session. In fact, very few bills were passed entirely. MNAAP was happy to see a bipartisan mental health package pass into law, dedicating nearly $100 million to mental health needs, including school and child mental health grants. However, the relative inaction on many major policy priorities was frustrating to many.

Looking ahead to the upcoming legislative session, the state constitution requires a state budget be finalized before the new fiscal year in July. Since the legislature will need to pass a state budget, the prospect of expanded state funding for early childhood initiatives will certainly be on the table. The future of other major MNAAP priority items, such as commonsense firearm reform, legislation to increase childhood vaccination rates, and reproductive healthcare policy, will largely depend on the outcome of the upcoming election.

On Tuesday, Nov. 8, Minnesotans will elect an entirely new government in the state. That is, all 201 state legislators and the five constitutional officers (governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state, and state auditor) will be up for election. 

Early voting in Minnesota goes through Monday, Nov. 7, including for those interested in voting-by-mail. More information can be found on the secretary of state’s website at www.sos.state.mn.us/elections-voting/.

August 9, 2022

Chad Fahning, MNAAP Lobbyist

Uncertainty loomed at the Capitol as the Minnesota Legislature adjourned the 2022 legislative session. Despite a $9.25 billion budget forecast, neither body could agree on what to do with the record-setting surplus. Questions about a special session never received answers as legislators packed their bags to go home in preparation for the 2022 campaign season.

A few weeks prior, Senate Majority Leader Jeremy Miller (R-Winona) and House Speaker Melissa Hortman (DFL-Brooklyn Park) stood side-by-side with Governor Tim Walz to announce an agreed upon budget framework. Prospects for an orderly end-of-session seemed promising as leadership announced a $4 billion tax deal, $4 billion in state spending, and a $1.4 billion bonding bill – a deal that everyone, in theory, could agree to.

In practice, however, the legislators would need to carve out compromise from a situation where little could be found. The Health and Human Services Conference Committee, for example, was charged with detailing a $1 billion agreement of the $4 billion state spending target. The two sides’ proposals couldn’t have been more different.

The House proposal prioritized early childhood initiatives, specifically in mental health services, as well as additional funding for expanded statewide health programs. The Senate offers invested almost entirely in workforce shortages, especially in eldercare services and programs for the disabled.

The House and Senate exchanged several offers in an effort to inch closer to a compromise, but never finalized a deal before the May 22 midnight deadline. Similarly, deals on E-12 education, public safety, and transportation bills, not to mention a compromise on a bonding bill for new capital improvement projects, were never reached. Details of a tax bill were announced, but the House would not pass the bill without Senate agreement on the spending bills.

As the clock on the session expired, no deal had been made. No tax bill. No spending deal. The record-setting budget surplus now sits on the bottom line until the legislature reconvenes. Right now, nobody knows when that will be.

The Speaker of the House supports a special session to finish their work. The Senate Majority Leader does not. Gov. Walz said he was open to calling a special session, but only if both sides come to an agreement to tie up loose ends on the spending bills.

The legislature did pass several important items during the regular session. The legislature authorized hero pay for over half a million frontline workers in Minnesota, in tandem with a multibillion dollar deal to refill the state’s unemployment insurance fund. The extension of the reinsurance program in Minnesota needed to be addressed this year and was. It included a critical provision to allow patients to spread out copay payments on their deductible throughout the calendar year.

But with the largest budget surplus in state history and countless hours stakeholders spent advocating for something, the lack of an end-of-session deal leaves a sour taste in the mouths of many Minnesotans. Despite lobbying efforts throughout session, especially for investments in early childcare and expansion of school mental health services, to see all that work result in nothing this year is disheartening at best.

Unless there is a special session, the legislature will reconvene in January of 2023. The 93rd Minnesota State Legislature will certainly look different than the 92nd, as many legislators will not make a return trip back to St. Paul either by their own choice or that of their constituents.

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.

 

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