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Quote of the Week: "I would expect this would be the fastest start anyone can remember for bills moving through the Minnesota legislature. …It will be a very busy January!” House Speaker Melissa Hortman commenting on the start of the 2023 session.

Bill of the Week:   H. F. 40, A bill for an act relating to game and fish; permanently allowing portable stands in certain wildlife management areas; amending Minnesota Statutes 2022, section 97A.137, subdivision 5.

Big Picture Issues - They’re Back!

The Minnesota Legislature convened on Tuesday at noon and kicked off what is expected to be a historic session. The DFL controls all constitutional offices (Governor, AG, Secretary of State, Auditor) as well as the House (70-64 DFL majority) and Senate (34-33 DFL majority). This DFL trifecta has an aggressive progressive agenda that will be easier to fund with the State’s $17.6 billion projected budget surplus. There is only one thing the DFL Legislature has to do this session – pass a two-year biennial budget. But there is a long list of things it wants to do:

  • Codify Roe. v. Wade in state statute;
  • Pass a Family Medical Leave bill allowing employees paid time off in certain circumstances;
  • Increase funding for K-12 and higher education;
  • Expand voting rights, including automatic registration for 18 year olds;
  • Gun regulation with “red flag” protection orders and expansion of criminal background checks;
  • Legalize recreational cannabis;
  • Legalize sports betting;
  • Pass a bonding bill, which has not been done in two years; and
  • Expand state funding for affordable housing.

While much has been made in the media about the ability of the DFL to do whatever they want, expect tensions by the end of session between the Governor and the Legislature and between the House and Senate. The 2023 session is scheduled to adjourn on May 22nd.

Key Dates for the Coming Session

  • January 24: Governor Walz releases 2023 Budget recommendations.
  • End of February: February Budget Forecast.
  • April 5-12: Likely Easter/Passover break.
  • May 22: Last day of the regular 2023 legislative session.

Health Care Issues

New Chairs to Lead Senate HHS Committees

The change in control of the Senate from GOP to DFL also means a change in Committee Chairs. The Senate Health and Human Services Committee will be Chaired by Senator Melissa Wiklund (DFL-Bloomington), who was the lead DFLer on the Committee last session. The Committee includes two physicians (Senators Mann and Morrison), two chiropractors (Senators Abeler and Lieske) and one R.N. (Senator Boland) and one drug treatment administrator (Hoffman) . Senators Mann, Morrison and Boland are all former members of the House Health Committee. The Senate Human Services Committee will be Chaired by Senator John Hoffman (DFL-Champlin), who was the lead DFLer on the Committee last session. The HHS Committee website can be found here: Health and Human Services. The Human Services Committee website can be found here: Human Services

House Makes Changes in Human Services Committee Chairs

The House remains in DFL control, but changes have been made in committee chairs overseeing human services issues. Rep. Mohamud Noor (DFL-Minneapolis) will Chair the Human Services Finance Committee and Rep. Peter Fischer (DFL-Maplewood) will Chair the Human Services Policy Committee.   Fischer chaired the Behavioral Health Policy Division of the Human Services Committee last session. The Health Finance and Policy Committee will continue to be Chaired by Rep. Tina Liebling (DFL-Rochester). Her Vice Chair is Rep. Robert Bierman (DFL-Apple Valley), who served on the Committee last session. The Human Services Finance Committee website can be found here: Human Services Finance. The Human Services Policy Committee can be found here: Human Services Policy. The Health Committee website can be found here: Health Finance and Policy.