Thursday, March 31, 2011

State government bill with reductions to state employees moves; Ag bill passes

Yesterday at the Capitol

The Senate took up the state government finance bill, SF1047, on the floor yesterday and after much discussion and multiple amendments, Senators passed the bill 36-29. The bill, authored by Sen. Mike Parry, R-Waseca, reduces projected spending in state government by 59 percent. Part of that reduction includes a provision that freezes the salaries of state employees for the 2012-2013 biennium. Sen. David Tomassoni, DFL-Chisholm, called the bill an attack on public employees. Republicans have said the reductions in the bill are painful, but necessary and include innovations that will make state government more efficient and affordable.

Once the House passes their version of the bill, a conference committee will be formed to work through the differences. From there, the bill will go to the governor's desk for signature or veto. Gov. Dayton has said he does not want to make the same large reductions to state government. Dayton is requesting legislators pass the conference committee reports for all the appropriation bills and then lay them on the table in order to begin negotiations and reach a budget agreement.

There is some good news in the area of agreement. The agriculture finance omnibus bill passed the floor yesterday evening with bipartisan support, passing with a vote of 104-20. House Minority Leader Paul Thissen, DFL-Minneapolis, said the bill makes honest choices that should be made across the entire budget for a responsible solution for Minnesota.

Today at the Capitol

9:00 AM
Senate in Session
Omnibus E-12 Education Bill

12:00 PM
House in Session
SF958 - Omnibus Public Safety and Judiciary Finance bill

Looking Ahead

Thursday, April 7

8:15 AM
House State Government Finance
Room: 200 State Office Building
Chair: Rep. Morrie Lanning
Agenda: HF210 (Kiffmeyer) Voter picture identification required before receiving a ballot, identification cards provided at no charge, provisional ballot procedures established, election administration procedures specified, electronic polling place required, recount procedures enacted, and money appropriated.

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