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/.