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Home / News / Some budget targets revealed; Anderson PUC floor vote teed up

Some budget targets revealed; Anderson PUC floor vote teed up



7:30 – 9:00 a.m. Twin West Legislative Breakfast Series: Talking Taxes. Sen. Julianne Ortman, Rep. Paul Marquart, Mark Haveman of MN Taxpayers Association. Doubletree Park Place Hotel, 1500 Park Place Blvd., St. Louis Park. $30 members/ $40 nonmembers. Info here

11:00 a.m-5:00 p.m. Falun Dafa/Gong Twin Cities. State Capitol Rotunda and South Steps.


1:30-2:45 pm: MATTOO – Men Against the Trafficking of Others. State Capitol Rotunda.

5:00-7:00 p.m.: MATTOO– Men Against the Trafficking of Others. State Capitol Lower Mall.


1:00-4:00 p.m. A Read-in for Civility. State Capitol, South Steps (Rotunda if rain.)


ENDGAME: With the big-ticket conference committees ramping up Thursday, the path toward May 23 grew clearer as select spending targets were revealed and House and Senate began to reconcile their differences. GOP leaders also said they would abide by MMB fiscal notes, an issue that had been a major impediment to negotiations but will require committees to spell out even deeper cuts, as theyhave in Health and Human Services (see below).

Still, it won’t be until all conference committees have completed their work that we’ll have a full picture of what the budget holds. That’s because, as Senate GOP leaders Amy Koch and Geoff Michel said Thursday, they won’t be publicly releasing targets as they did earlier in session, instead allowing the conference committees to make details public as necessary. Committees will then agree to the details and language and post the bills. When all have been completed, Gov. Mark Dayton said Thursday, he’ll be willing to engage in negotiations, opting not to force a floor vote on each before doing so. Dayton said he hopes to have a complete picture to review when he returns from the fishing opener Sunday. DFLers have been saying privately that they don’t believe GOP leadership could pass its budget off the floor even if they tried, but Dayton’s decision shows him opting for accommodation over a more hard-line approach.

HHS CONFERENCE COMMITTEE: Rep. Jim Abeler and Sen. David Hann (pictured right) unveiled their proposed $1.8 billion in Health and Human Services cuts to a packed room Thursday night. The federal waiver provisions are still in the bill, but there are no longer any projected savings associated with them; instead the budget spreadsheet will go much deeper in specific program cuts. Raw numbers below from PIM’s Paul Demko:

  • Eliminate Medical Assistance for adults without children. Savings: $921 million in ‘12-’13.
  • Managed care high cost provider reforms. Savings: $198 million in ‘12-’13.
  • Enroll disabled in managed care (allow opt out). Savings: $54 million in ‘12-’13.
  • Eliminate Medical Assistance eligibility for legal non-citizens. Savings: $27 million in ‘12-’13.
  • Freeze waiver spending on disability programs. Savings: $93 million in ‘12-’13.
  • Decrease in payments for PCA care by relatives. Savings: $24 million in ‘12-’13.
  • Booked in place of the global Medicaid waiver savings: Healthy Minnesota Defined Contribution Program Eliminate adults with no kids under 125% of federal poverty line & defined contribution for adults over 125%. Defined contribution for parents over 133% of federal poverty guideline. Savings: $276 million in ‘12-’13.

STATE GOVERNMENT CONFERENCE COMMITTEE: The panel largely finished its work last night, and is expected to have draft language to release sometime today. The committee report recommends a significant decrease in the number of state government employees, as well as a hefty increase in health insurance payments and elimination or consolidation of state government functions, not to mention far-reaching agency cuts.

TAXES: The Taxes conference committee began significant work Thursday night, adopting a number of provisions, including an agreement on local government aid: a four-year phase-out for the Twin Cities and Duluth along with a freeze at 2010 levels for the rest of the state, a combination of House and Senate positions. One issue looms large over the committee: tax relief. The Senate has backed a phase-out of the statewide business property tax –- backed by Deputy Majority Leader Geoff Michel in place of his corporate income tax breaks from SF 1 -– and House Taxes Chair Greg Davids’ income tax relief proposal.

HIGHER ED: The Higher Ed conference committee completed its work Thursday night, finishing with a nearly 19 percent cut from forecast spending levels.

TRANSPORTATION: The Transportation conference committee agreed to its budget proposal Thursday as well. According to the Star Tribune, the plan would cut $109 million from Twin Cities bus and rail funding and $8 million in outstate transit spending.

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THE SCORECARD: This morning House GOP communications director Jodi Boyne sent along the following conference committee status summary:


Education, available here.

Completed work/will be posting:
Higher Ed
State Government Finance

Still in progress:
Public Safety/Judiciary

As they become available, conference reports will be posted here.

NO RECOMMENDATION: As expected, the confirmation of Public Utilities Commissioner Ellen Anderson (pictured left) went to the full Senate without recommendation. Most observers think GOP legislative leaders want to use her confirmation vote as a bargaining chip in budget negotiations with the Dayton administration. The former state senator faced tough questions from the Energy, Utilities and Telecommunications Committee on Thursday. Starting testimony with an earnest pitch outlining the difference between actions as a legislator and as a member of a quasi-judicial body, she tried hard to differentiate the two posts. Anderson faced political blowback for attending a 2009 United Nations Climate Change conference in Cancun, as well as almost two decades of environmental advocacy – including not voting for a water recycling bill sponsored more than once by Sen. Mike Jungbauer, who took her to task for “not understanding the issue.”

HEALTH EXCHANGES: A high-profile intra-GOP rift went on public display Thursday as anti-health care reform activists gathered at the Capitol to protest the establishment of a state health insurance exchange on the same day that the Chamber of Commerce and Minnesota Business Partnership sent a letter to GOP HHS chairs urging them to establish one sooner rather than later. The two business groups have also found backers in organized labor and the health community. If the state doesn’t establish its own exchange by 2013, Washington will, under the law, which is why House HHS Reform Chair Steve Gottwalt tried to pass a bill to establish the exchange earlier this session. Notably, however, he couldn’t pass the measure through his own committee thanks to conservative opposition.

Over time, GOP activists have grown increasingly apoplectic over the move. Twila Brase has been omnipresent in opposition, and Republican legislators Mary Franson, Sean Nienow and Gretchen Hoffman were in attendance for Brase’s rally against the move Thursday. “I say we fight these health exchanges tooth and nail,” Hoffman told the crowd. “It is our job to protect the legacy of freedom.” We expect the exchange to be a minor, yet not insignificant, factor in end-of-session negotiations over the HHS budget, since the state has to start establishing it sooner rather than later to complete it by 2013.

COAL BILL : SF 86 will head to a conference committee, as recommended by the bill’s author, Sen. Julie Rosen. The bill would allow utilities to produce more carbon dioxide emissions and greenhouse gases. We caught up with Rosen, who told us she wanted the bill sent to conference committee to reconcile it with the more specific language in the House version, noting the circumstances had changed since two mega-energy projects, Bigstone II and Excelsior Energy, were no longer on the agenda.

THOMPSON: Politico reports that freshman GOP Sen. Dave Thompson is weighing a run against U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar in 2012. The item is more notable for its presentation than content, however. Thompson keeps his cards close to his vest: “I have not ruled it out, and I have really not given it a lot of thought,” he’s quoted as saying. “Once we get the session taken care of, I can think of other things.”

TRAINING: The Star Tribune’s Jeremy Herb reports from Washington that Tarryl Clark and Jeff Anderson, possible challenges to U.S. Rep. Chip Cravaack in 2012, are in D.C. for candidate training this with about 40 other candidates at a DCCC event.

VIKINGS SIGHTING: Lester Bagley, Public Affairs VP for the Minnesota Vikings, met up with one of the organization’s lobbyists, Judy Cook, in tonight’s House Government Operations hearings. Bagley was not talking, but it’s the third time in recent days we’ve seen him in the Capitol during the evening hours.


Note: Hearing scheduled have grown increasingly fluid toward the end of session and hearings are being scheduled throughout the day. Check here for the most up-to-date information

The Senate will be in session 9:30 a.m. and will take up a number of general and special order bills.

The House will be in session at 10:30 a.m. and will take up its congressional redistricting map.

The Pensions and Retirement Commission will consider any laid-over legislation remaining on its agenda at noon in 107 Capitol.


The Judiciary and Public Safety conference committee will meet at the call of the chair in 123 Capitol.

The Environment conference committee will meet at the call of the chair in a room to be announced.

A conference committee on SF 170, teacher candidates required to pass basic skills exam, will meet at 4 p.m. in 318 Capitol.


The Ways and Means Committee will hear seven bills at 8 a.m. or at the call of the chair in 200 SOB.

HF 104 Department of corrections claim settlements provided, and money appropriated.
HF 556 Juvenile prostitutes in need of protection or services provisions amended, sexually exploited youth defined, prostitution crime penalty assessments increased, and distribution of the assessment amended; prostitution laws provisions clarified and recodified, and definitions modified; money appropriated to the commissioner of public safety to develop a statewide victim services model.
HF 988 Public defender representation provision modified.
HF 1068 Transportation and public safety policies governing provisions provided including data practices, bicycles and bikeways and bridges, transportation construction contracts, motor vehicles, traffic regulations, driver licensing and training, alternative financing for transportation projects, railroads, motor carriers and commercial drivers, and agency reporting, establishing fees and an account, pilot program expanded, seaplane base variance provided, provisions repealed, technical changes made, and money appropriated.
HF 1478 Minnesota sex offender program provisions modified.
HF 211 Liability limits modified for tort claims against the state and political subdivisions, conciliation court claims regulated, right of appeal provided on class action orders, statute of limitations on claims modified, prejudgment interest modified, attorney fees regulated, and cause of action for sex trafficking violations provided.
HF 250 Claims against the state provisions changed and updated.


The Finance Committee will hear four bills at the call of the chair in 107 Capitol.

S.F. 1357 Defense of Dwelling and Person Act of 2011; firearms regulation provisions modifications.

S.F. 849 State employee group insurance program (SEGIP) retired employee termination notice requirement and coverage reinstatement procedure.

S.F. 907 State building efficiency, fleet management improvements, and Medicaid and tax fraud prevention and detection consulting services contracts for improvements to state-operated systems and services requirements.

S.F. 1002 Trout and salmon stamp sales revenue management account appropriation to natural resources department (DNR).

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