The Minnesota House of Representatives released the committee structure and chairs for the 2021-2022 legislative session the evening of November 30, 2020. On December 1, 2020, the State released the November budget forecast, which has improved significantly since an unusual mid-year forecast last summer.
The numbers released December 1, 2020, show that the $4.7 billion deficit projected for the 2022-2023 biennium has shrunk to $1.27 billion. The improved forecast is largely due to higher consumer spending, and thus higher tax revenue, than expected. However, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to provide a higher level of uncertainty than usual.
Governor Tim Walz will use the new figure to develop his proposed state budget for the FY 2022-2023 biennium, though the updated February forecast will guide the final budget.
In a turnaround, while the May forecast projected a $2.4 billion deficit for the current biennium (FY 2020-2021), the November forecast projects a $641 million surplus. As Governor Tim Walz and legislative leaders are currently discussing possible relief for businesses struggling as a result of Minnesota’s latest COVID-19 “pause” affecting restaurants, fitness centers and other businesses, the surplus is welcome news and is likely to be spent.
For the next biennium, which begins July 1, 2021, decision-makers will consider a number of options to fill the $1.27 billion shortfall, including dipping into the state’s $2.4 billion budget reserve, tax increases, spending reductions, federal dollars, and payment shifts.
House Committee Structure and Chairs
On November 30, the Minnesota House of Representatives released committee information for the 2021-2022 legislative session. In addition to emphasizing the diversity of the new committee chairs, Speaker Melissa Hortman (DFL-Brooklyn Park) said the new committee structure focuses on the House’s priorities: “recovering and rebuilding from COVID, affordable health care, excellent educational opportunities from preschool through job training, and economic security for our families.”
Representative Rena Moran (DFL-St. Paul) takes over the Ways and Means committee following the retirement of the former chair. Several newer members will hold a gavel in major committees for the first time, including Representatives Zack Stephenson (DFL-Coon Rapids, Commerce Finance & Policy), Ruth Richardson (DFL-Mendota Heights, Education Policy) and Jamie Long (DFL-Minneapolis, Climate and Energy Finance & Policy).
Committee membership will be announced later in December, as session begins on Tuesday, January 5, 2021. A full list of the House committees, meeting times and chairs follows.
||Day Time (Room)
|Agriculture Finance & Policy
||Mon/Wed 1:00 (Basement)
||Tues/Thurs 8:30 (10)
|Commerce Finance & Policy
||Tues/Wed 3:00 (Basement)
||Tues/Wed/Thurs 10:30 (5)
|Early Childhood Finance & Policy
||Tues/Thurs 8:30 (5)
||Mon/Wed 1:00 (200)
|Environment and Natural Resources Finance & Policy
||Tues/Thurs 1:00 (5)
|Climate and Energy Finance & Policy
||Tues/Thurs 10:30 (200)
|State Government Finance & Policy
||Tues/Thurs/Fri 8:30 (Basement)
|Local Government Division
||Wed 8:30 (Basement)
|Health Finance & Policy
||Mon 1:00 & Tues/Wed 3:00 (120 Cap)
|Preventative Health Policy Division
||Wed 10:30 (200)
|Human Services Finance & Policy
||Tues/Wed/Thurs 10:30 (10)
|Behavioral Health Policy Division
||Wed 8:30 (200)
|Higher Education Finance & Policy
||Tues/Wed 3:00 (200)
|Housing Finance & Policy
||Tues/Thurs 10:30 (Basement)
|Preventing Homelessness Division
||Wed 10:30 (Basement)
|Labor, Industry, Veterans and Military Affairs Finance & Policy
||Tues/Wed 3:00 (5)
|Workforce and Business Development Finance & Policy
||Mon/Wed 1:00 (5)
|Industrial Education and Economic Development Finance & Policy
||Wed 8:30 (5)
|Judiciary Finance & Civil Law
||Tues/Thurs 8:30 (200)
||Wed 8:30 (10)
|Public Safety and Criminal Justice Reform Finance & Policy
||Tues/Thurs 1:00 & Fri 10:30 (200)
|Rules and Legislative Administration
||Call of the chair
|> Subcommittee on Legislative Process Reform
||Call of the chair
||Tues/Wed/Thurs 1:00 (10)
|Property Tax Division
||Wed 3:00 (10)
|Transportation Finance & Policy
||Turs/Thurs 1:00 (Basement)
|Ways and Means
||Mon 10:30 (200)
||Call of the chair
All hearings are scheduled for 90 minutes. Friday hearings are tentative and will meet at the call of the chair, if needed. Ways and Means will meet at the call of the chair.