January 11, 2019

Minnesota Legislative Update: Setting the Table for the 91st Session

On Monday, Congressman Tim Walz (DFL) was sworn in as Minnesota’s 41st Governor. In his inaugural address, he stuck to many of his familiar campaign topics, especially education. He emphasized how he and the legislature must come together to tackle tough issues to continue Minnesota’s bright future for all citizens.  

Governor Walz has now appointed most of his cabinet. These appointments are:

  • Administration: Alice Roberts-Davis
  • Agriculture: Thom Petersen
  • Commerce: Steve Kelley
  • Corrections: Paul Schnell
  • Education: Mary Cathryn Ricker
  • Employment and Economic Development: Steve Grove
  • Health: Jan Malcolm
  • Human Rights: Rebecca Lucero
  • Human Services: Tony Lourey
  • IRRRB: Mark Phillips
  • Labor and Industry: Nancy Leppink
  • Natural Resources: Sarah Strommen
  • Public Safety: John Harrington
  • Revenue: Cynthia Bauerly
  • Transportation: Margaret Anderson Kelliher
  • Veteran’s Affairs: Larry Herke
  • Met Council: Nora Slawik
  • Mediation Services: Janet Johnson
  • Housing Finance Agency: Jennifer Ho
  • Management and Budget: Myron Frans
  • Higher Education: Dennis Olson
  • Pollution Control Agency: Laura Bishop
  • IT Services: To be announced

 

 

Legislature Convenes

The Legislature officially convened its 91st session on Tuesday. The House DFL picked up 18 seats in the November elections to hold a 75-59 majority and started the new session by electing Rep. Melissa Hortman (DFL-Brooklyn Park) as Speaker of the House. On Wednesday, the House released their top 10 legislative priorities as follows:

  • HF1: The Great Start for All Minnesota Children Act – authored by Rep. Carlie Kotyza-Witthuhn (DFL-Eden Prairie)
  • HF2: K-12 student support legislation – authored by Rep. Heather Edelson (DFL-Edina)
  • HF3: More affordable health care through a MinnesotaCare buy-in – authored by Rep. Tina Liebling (DFL-Rochester)
  • HF4: Preventing prescription drug price gouging and holding pharmaceutical companies accountable – authored by Rep. John Lesch (DFL-St. Paul)
  • HF5: The Paid Family and Medical Leave Act – authored by Rep. Laurie Halverson (DFL-Eagan)
  • HF6: Wage theft prevention and enforcement – authored by Rep. Tim Mahoney (DFL-St. Paul)
  • HF7: Rural broadband expansion – authored by Rep. Rob Ecklund (DFL-International Falls)
  • HF8: Keeping guns out of the hands of dangerous people through criminal background checks on all sales – authored by Rep. Dave Pinto (DFL-St. Paul)
  • HF9: Preventing gun violence through extreme risk protection orders – authored by Rep. Ruth Richardson (DFL-Mendota Heights)
  • HF10: Protecting Minnesotans from sexual harassment – authored by Rep. Kelly Moller (DFL-Shoreview)

Read the House DFL press release.

The Senate GOP currently has a 34-32 majority resulting from Sen. Jeff Howe (R-Rockville) being elected in a special election and Sen. Lourey being appointed commissioner. A special election is scheduled for February 5. The GOP majority outlined their session priorities as follows:

  • Supporting mental health
  • Making child care more accessible and affordable
  • Lowering health care costs
  • Making government more effective and accountable, and eliminating fraud
  • Making Minnesota’s tax code simpler and fairer

Read the Senate Republican press release.

Next week, the Legislature will begin committee hearings in both bodies.

Important Dates

January 7, 2019 – Governor’s Inauguration

January 8, 2019 – Legislative Session Begins

February 19, 2019 – Governor’s Budget Recommendations Released

Last week of February – February Budget and Economic Forecast Released

April 13, 2019 – April 23, 2019 – Legislative Break

May 20, 2019 – Session Adjourns

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