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With most major finance bills clearing the House and Senate floors, attention will now turn towards conference committees this week. Conferees on several bills have already been appointed by legislative leaders.

Conference committees on key finance bills take shape

Rep. Mary Murphy (Staff photo: Peter Bartz-Gallagher)

With most major finance bills clearing the House and Senate floors, attention will now turn toward conference committees this week. Conferees on several bills have already been appointed by legislative leaders.

The omnibus state government bill — which will deal with the tricky issue of whether to increase pay for legislators — will have only DFL legislators on the conference committee.  The list of conferees: Reps. Mary Murphy (Hermantown), chair of the State Government Finance and Veterans Affairs Committee, Jerry Newton (Coon Rapids), Michael Nelson (Brooklyn Park), Steve Simon (Hopkins) and Connie Bernardy (Fridley), and Sens. Tom Saxhaug (Grand Rapids), chair of the State Departments and Veterans Division, Richard Cohen (Saint Paul), Chris Eaton (Brooklyn Center), Bobby Joe Champion (Minneapolis) and Melisa Franzen (Edina).

The environment, natural resources and agriculture omnibus bill seemingly sets up an ideological battle between the House and Senate. The House conferees include liberal Reps. Jean Wagenius (Minneapolis), chair of the Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture Finance, and Rick Hansen (South St. Paul), while the Senate participants are of a much more conservative bent, including GOP Sen. Torrey Westrom (Elbow Lake) and right-leaning DFL Sens. Dan Sparks (Austin) and James Metzen (South St. Paul). One notable omission: Senate Environment and Energy Committee Chair John Marty is not among his chamber’s conferees.

On some key bills, only one legislative chamber has named its conferees. The House panel for the health and human services finance bill includes DFL Reps. Thomas Huntley (Duluth), chair of the Health and Human Services Finance Committee, HHS Policy Chair Tina Liebling (Rochester), Diane Loeffler (Minneapolis) and Rena Moran (Saint Paul), and GOP Rep. Jim Abeler (Anoka).

The Senate has named its conferees to the higher education finance bill: DFL Sens. Terri Bonoff (Minnetonka) chair of the Higher Education and Workforce Development Division, Greg Clausen (Apple Valley), Sandy Pappas (Saint Paul) and Kent Eken (Twin Valley), and GOP Sen. Jeremy Miller (Winona).

Go here for a full rundown of conference committee appointees.

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