Legislative Update: February 18, 2019

Legislative activity in the House paused for a good part of today as the House observed Sovereignty Day with a number of presentations and discussions in the House Chamber. With tribal leaders from Minnesota’s 11 tribal nations, House members spent the day learning about the culture and history of Minnesota’s Indian communities and tribal governments. Given the shared law and policy-making roles in the state of Minnesota, House Speaker Melissa Hortman, DFL-Brooklyn Park, said it’s important for members to understand how federal, state, and tribal laws intersect. The official activities included a drum group, flag procession, and panel with tribal leaders.

The House and Senate higher education committees will meet tonight at 6:00 p.m. in a joint meeting to recommend candidates for the University of Minnesota Board of Regents to the Joint Convention of the Legislature. Regents are elected by a simple majority in a joint convention of the Legislature. Recently, the Regent Candidate Advisory Council (RCAC) recommended 16 candidates for the four open regent positions. State law requires the RCAC to put forward a minimum of two and maximum of four candidates for each open seat.

This week is expected to be busy with Governor Tim Walz scheduled to release his budget proposal tomorrow (Tuesday). This budget, which is Governor Walz’s first as the state’s chief executive, is based on the November forecast which projected the state to have a $1.54 billion surplus for the next biennium, which begins July 1. While Walz’s budget sets the stage for budget priorities this session, another budget forecast will be released in late February or early March that will be the final framework for the state’s two-year budget legislators will craft this session.

With Senator Jason Rarick, R-Pine City, vacating his House seat following his election to the Senate earlier this month, another special election has been called for House District 11B. The special election will take place on Tuesday, March 19. A special primary will occur, if needed, on Tuesday, March 5. House District 11B includes most of Pine County and the eastern portion of Kanabec County.


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