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Commerce conference committee strikes agreement, finishes work

In less than an hour Friday, the conference committee on the commerce finance and policy bill went from the “broad agreement” stage they had reached at their first meeting Wednesday to a final agreement.

With the approval of an amendment offered by Rep. Zack Stephenson (DFL-Coon Rapids) and approval of the 10 motions he made, all elements of HF2680/SF2744* have been finalized and the conference committee report is ready to be drafted and presented to the committee members for their signatures.

Sen. Matt Klein (DFL-Mendota Heights), who sponsors the bill with Stephenson, said there would not be a public meeting for signing the report.

The more notable provisions up in the air after Wednesday’s meeting now in the final report include:

  • changing state law regarding deceptive trade practices;
  • prohibiting boat insurance contracts from excluding coverage for family members;
  • establishing a maximum annual interest rate of 36% for short-term “payday” loans;
  • prohibiting price-gouging by contractors after severe weather events;
  • establishing the Digital Fair Repair Act;
  • prohibiting price-gouging after emergency declarations; and
  • requiring banks and credit unions with more than $1 billion in assets to submit an annual “climate risk disclosure” survey to the Department of Commerce.

Missing from the committee’s final report is establishing the “Minnesota Age-Appropriate Design Code Act,” which would have placed obligations and restrictions on businesses that offer online services, products, or features likely to be accessed by children.

A successful Stephenson motion adopted the appropriations in Article 1 of the House version of the bill.

[MORE: View the appropriations]

Stephenson’s amendment adjusted the numbers somewhat throughout the article, most notably by deleting $284 million in the biennium that would have funded enforcing the Age-Appropriate Design Code Act, which did not make the cut.

Sen. Jordan Rasmusson (R-Fergus Falls) unsuccessfully offered two amendments. One would have modified the payday loans provision and another that would have changed the provision on requiring banks and credit unions with more than $1 billion in assets to submit an annual “climate risk disclosure” survey to the Department of Commerce.

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