Legislative Top 5: May 28, 2021

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BUDGET WORK CONTINUES

Today marks the day that Governor Tim Walz and legislative leaders gave committees to finalize budget allocations for their respective jurisdictions. Capitol insiders are not surprised that many committees will miss today’s deadline. From the outset, several committee chairs privately indicated that they viewed the deadline as aspirational rather than a set deadline.

CAN WE SEE IT?

Even committees that have completed their work aren’t making the information public. There are no committee meetings scheduled today (or in the next week), and there have only been two budget-related public meetings all week. It is likely that no documents related to the state’s budget will be made available to the public prior to private approvals by legislative leaders and the Governor.

WILL IT END?

Next Friday, June 4, is the deadline for policy decisions, and the legislature is still planning to meet in special session on June 14, when the Governor is expected to reauthorize his emergency powers. The most important date to remember is June 30. If the legislature doesn’t pass a budget prior to that date, the state will begin a shutdown. Expect that if committees are unable to find agreement that leadership will step in and make final decisions in order to avoid a shutdown.

JUDICIAL BRANCH OPENING

This week the state judicial branch released new guidance regarding COVID-19 safety requirements as a new statewide order expands in-person court proceedings. Changes take place beginning on June 14.

STATEWIDE COVID RESTRICTIONS LIFTED

Beginning today, nearly all statewide COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted. Capacity limits on indoor and outdoor spaces have been lifted, as well as most mask mandates. Masks are still required on public transportation, in certain jurisdictions (including the City of Minneapolis and the City of St. Paul), and certain businesses. This week, the state also announced a series of incentives for people to get vaccinated, ranging from free tickets to the State Fair to free drinks provided by breweries during on-site vaccination clinics.

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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