Announcements from the Minnesota Capitol

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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.

November Forecast

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.

Committee Day Time (Room) Chair
Agriculture Finance & Policy Mon/Wed 1:00 (Basement) Sundin
Capital Investment Tues/Thurs 8:30 (10) Lee
Commerce Finance & Policy Tues/Wed 3:00 (Basement) Stephenson
Education Finance Tues/Wed/Thurs 10:30 (5) Davnie
Early Childhood Finance & Policy Tues/Thurs 8:30 (5) Pinto
Education Policy Mon/Wed 1:00 (200) Richardson
Environment and Natural Resources Finance & Policy Tues/Thurs 1:00 (5) Hansen
Climate and Energy Finance & Policy Tues/Thurs 10:30 (200) Long
State Government Finance & Policy Tues/Thurs/Fri 8:30 (Basement) Nelson
Local Government Division Wed 8:30 (Basement) Masin
Health Finance & Policy Mon 1:00 & Tues/Wed 3:00 (120 Cap) Liebling
Preventative Health Policy Division Wed 10:30 (200) Freiberg
Human Services Finance & Policy Tues/Wed/Thurs 10:30 (10) Schultz
Behavioral Health Policy Division Wed 8:30 (200) Fischer
Higher Education Finance & Policy Tues/Wed 3:00 (200) Bernardy
Housing Finance & Policy Tues/Thurs 10:30 (Basement) Hausman
Preventing Homelessness Division Wed 10:30 (Basement) Gomez
Labor, Industry, Veterans and Military Affairs Finance & Policy Tues/Wed 3:00 (5) Ecklund
Workforce and Business Development Finance & Policy Mon/Wed 1:00 (5) Noor
Industrial Education and Economic Development Finance & Policy Wed 8:30 (5) Pelowski
Judiciary Finance & Civil Law Tues/Thurs 8:30 (200) Becker-Finn
Legacy Finance Wed 8:30 (10) Lillie
Public Safety and Criminal Justice Reform Finance & Policy Tues/Thurs 1:00 & Fri 10:30 (200) Mariani
Rules and Legislative Administration Call of the chair Winkler
> Subcommittee on Legislative Process Reform Call of the chair Pelowski
Taxes Tues/Wed/Thurs 1:00 (10) Marquart
Property Tax Division Wed 3:00 (10) Youakim
Transportation Finance & Policy Turs/Thurs 1:00 (Basement) Hornstein
Ways and Means Mon 10:30 (200) Moran
Redistricting Call of the chair Murphy

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.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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