Here’s the latest news from St. Paul.
DFL Omnibus Bills
Today we begin voting on DFL omnibus bills. So far we only know the scheduled bills for two days this week, with the K-12 Education bill and the Jobs and Energy bill being up Tuesday and the Health and Human Services bill being up Wednesday.
The K-12 Education bill costs an additional $900 million, with over $400 million of that shifted from the transportation budget. It also lowers standards for teacher licensing, pre-empts local controls on teacher hiring, and allows those convicted of some domestic violence offenses to get a teacher license. All told, this bill spends over $20.4 billion.
Jobs and Energy
The Jobs and Energy bill raises taxes by over $1.6 billion in new taxes on employers and employees and imposes new mandates and higher fees on businesses, making Minnesota less friendly to small businesses. The bill also requires over 450 new government employees to administer those mandates. The energy portion of the bill includes a 100% renewable energy mandate by 2050, which is an impossible goal and will drastically increase energy prices for Minnesotans. The bill as a whole spends over $500 million, including base spending.
Health and Human Services
The Health and Human Services bill is widely regarded as the largest omnibus bill in state history, coming in at about 1130 pages. It includes a reboot of the provider tax, which will cost over $2.5 billion over the next four years, and cuts state funding to nursing homes by almost $70 million. Including federal and private match funding, that’s a loss of almost $200 million for Minnesota’s nursing homes. Total spending on Health and Human services in this bill tops $17 billion.
As always, if you need assistance on an issue pertaining to state government or have concerns or ideas about legislation, my office is available to you. You can e-mail at Rep.Marion.ONeill@House.MN or call my office at 651-296-5063. You can also write a letter to me. My office address at the Capitol is 357 State Office Building, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, St. Paul, MN 55155.