Members spent part of the weekend in the House Chamber. Opportunities will likely expand to provide for far more get-togethers in that space.
Changing the definition of a legislative day is one of a plethora of provisions in the areas of elections and state and local government that were approved Saturday by a conference committee.
However, because some largely technical changes with the administration may yet be needed, conferees directed legislative staff to begin preparing the conference committee report to HF1830. If potential changes are more than technical, conferees would meet again to amend the report being drafted.
Part of the eventual conference committee report on the state government finance bill would, beginning with the 2025 session, redefine a legislative day to when either body “gives any bill a third reading, adopts a rule of procedure or organization, elects a university regent, confirms a gubernatorial appointment, or votes to override a gubernatorial veto.” Supporters previously said the change would, in part, allow future legislatures avoid scheduling constraints.
Per the state constitution, the Legislature can meet in biennial session for 120 legislative days; however, a legislative day is not defined. In statute, created in 1973, a legislative day is described as “a day when either house of the legislature is called to order.” So, for example, a brief session where members do nothing more than moving bills along in the committee process now uses a day.
In addition, the agreement would change a session start date to “the first Tuesday after the second Monday in January of each odd-numbered year;” and the electrolier hanging in the Capitol Rotunda would be lit on days the Legislature meets and at agreed-upon other times. Now it is only lit on Statehood Day, May 11.
When members meet next session, they will likely do so under a different state flag.
A 13-member State Emblems Redesign Commission — plus two House and two Senate ex-officio nonvoting members — is called for in the agreement to “develop and adopt a new design for the official state seal and a new design for the official state flag. The designs must accurately and respectfully reflect Minnesota's shared history, resources, and diverse cultural communities. Symbols, emblems, or likenesses that represent only a single community or person, regardless of whether real or stylized, may not be included in a design.” Adopted designs must be certified in a report due the Legislature and governor by Jan. 1, 2024.
In light of the Feeding our Future scandal, the agreement calls for a financial review of grant and business subsidy recipients when at least $50,000 is to be allotted. Per an amendment, “Before an agency awards a competitive, legislatively named, single source, or sole source grant, the agency must complete a preaward risk assessment to assess the risk that a potential grantee cannot or would not perform the required duties.”
State government spending, policy
The agreement checks in at almost $1.51 billion in General Fund 2024-25 biennial spending, $400 million over base. Klevorn and Murphy have said more is needed to have government function in a way that Minnesotans need and deserve.
The bill includes a $127 million spending increase for Minnesota IT Services; $75 million increase for legislative activity, including member pay increases; $72.44 million for the Department of Administration including $20 million “to facilitate space consolidation and the transition to a hybrid work environment;” and $37.8 million for the Office of the Attorney General.
Compensation Council salary recommendations for the state’s constitutional officers would be adopted. They call for a 9% increase July 1, 2023, and 7.5% bump effective July 1, 2024.
[MORE: View the change item spreadsheet]
A number of new offices, councils and task forces would be established, including an Office of Enterprise Sustainability, Office of Enterprise Transitions, Legislative Task force on Aging, Council on LGBTQ1A2S+ Minnesotans, Infrastructure Resilience Advisory Task Force, and Working Group on Youth Intervention.
Other proposed policy changes include:
Local government-related policy changes
Elections spending, policy
General Fund spending of almost $24.62 million in fiscal years 2023-25 is called for, a $9.5 million increase.
[MORE: View the change item spreadsheet]
Penalties would be established for intimidation and interference related to an election judge performing their official duties and tampering with the statewide voter registration system, registration list or polling place roster.
State law would show Minnesota’s support of the Agreement Among the States to Elect the President by National Popular Vote, an interstate compact that’d guarantee the presidency to the candidate receiving the most popular votes across all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Other policy includes: