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RELEASE: House GOP calls for action after historically unproductive start to 2021 session

Monday, March 15, 2021

ST. PAUL, MN — Top House Republican Leaders held a press conference Monday to highlight the historically unproductive start to the 2021 session by House Democrats, and to urge action on four bipartisan bills that have been stalled for weeks.

Through the first ten weeks of session, the House has passed just five bills, the fewest at this point in session since at least 1995 — as far back as records are available on the House website. According to a report from House non-partisan staff, the House has also processed just 333 committee reports, the fewest at this point in session for an odd-numbered year since 2011.

"If House Democrats aren't willing to do the work Minnesotans expect of us, House Republicans are ready to step up and lead," said House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt, R-Crown. "This is the least productive session in recent history, and the House is holding up critical issues like funding for our law enforcement, protecting Minnesotans businesses and workers from tax hikes, and funding to help students get caught up after a year of distance learning."

House Republicans announced Monday the intention to bring four bills up for consideration over the next week on the House floor, including:

  • The SAFE Account, which sets aside $35 million for mutual adi agreements for anticipated law enforcement response for the Chavin trial and other major public safety events. That bill has been stalled since the House DFL proposal failed twice weeks ago on the House floor. House Republicans have put forward a compromise proposal authored by Rep. Brian Johnson, R-Cambridge, Republican Lead on the House Public Safety Committee, an approach that was endorsed by the Star Tribune Editorial Board.
  • Exempting forgiven Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan income from state taxes. Currently, Minnesota is the only state in the upper Midwest that has yet to exempt forgiven PPP loan payments. Without action, businesses could owe hundreds of thousands of dollars or more in state income taxes simply for using the PPP funds as intended by the federal government. The Senate passed a PPP tax relief bill last week with a veto-proof majority on a 55-12 vote.
  • Exempting $10,200 in Unemployment Insurance income, the same exempted by the federal government.
  • Funding for schools to offer in-person summer school programming. Rep. Ron Kresha, R-Little Falls, Republican Lead on the House Education Finance Committee, has authored a bill set to be introduced this week that would utilize the expected funds coming in from the federal government to help defray cost of in-person summer school learning to help students catch up from a year of distance learning, along with funding for student mental health, as well as early learning scholarships.

"These bills could easily pass this week with broad bipartisan support," added Deputy Minority Leader Rep. Anne Neu Brindley, R-North Branch. "House Democrats have been paralyzed, and as a result we are off to the least productive start in the House in recent history. We need to get to work and not let these priorities get caught up in budget bill politics. We can't afford to wait until May to make sure we're helping workers, Main Street businesses, schools, and law enforcement."