Legislative Update: Omnibus bills with ag implications reach committees

By Amanda Bilek, senior public policy director for the Minnesota Corn Growers Association

The 10 major omnibus spending bills, including a tax bill, have each been passed off the floor of the House or the Senate and conference committees have been appointed to work out the differences between the House and Senate positions. Additionally, House and Senate legislative leadership and Governor Walz have been meeting to reach agreement on joint spending targets for the major omnibus spending bills and the tax bill.

At the beginning of session, legislative leaders agreed to a self-imposed deadline of May 6 to provide joint spending targets to conference committees. Leaders were unable to reach agreement by their deadline but negotiations are ongoing. You can read more about the leadership negotiations in the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

While legislative leaders continue to negotiate on joint targets, conference committees have started to meet to review specific provisions in House and Senate positions that make up the major omnibus spending bills.

Here is a look at the conference committee appointments and bill numbers for the major spending bills the Minnesota Corn Growers Association (MCGA) will be tracking during the final weeks of session.

Agriculture, rural development and housing finance – SF 2226

Conference committee information and bill comparisons can be found here and budget comparison spreadsheet here.

House conferees: Representatives Poppe (DFL-Austin), Hausman (DFL-St. Paul), Pelowski (DFL-Winona), Lippert (DFL-Northfield) and Gunther (R-Fairmont)

Senate conferees: Senators Westrom (R-Elbow Lake), Weber (R-Luverne), Goggin (R-Red Wing),  Draheim (R-Madison Lake) and Dziedzic (DFL-Minneapolis)

Taxes – HF 2125

Conference committee information and bill comparisons can be found here and budget comparison spreadsheet here.

House conferees: Representatives Marquart (DFL-Dillworth), Loeffler (DFL-Minneapolis), Gomez (DFL-Minneapolis), Lislegard (DFL-Aurora) and Davids (R-Preston)

Senate conferees: Senators Chamberlain (R-Lino Lakes), Senjem (R-Rochester), Dahms (R-Redwood Falls), Howe (R-Rockville) and Rest (DFL-New Hope)

Environment and natural resources finance – SF 2314

Conference committee information and bill comparisons can be found here and budget comparison spreadsheet here.

House conferees: Representatives Hansen (DFL-South St. Paul), Persell (DFL-Bemidji), Fischer (DFL-Maplewood), Becker-Finn (DFL-Roseville) and Nelson (R-Hinckley)

Senate conferees: Senators Ingebrigtsen (R-Alexandria), Ruud (R-Breezy Point), Eichorn (R-Grand Rapids), Johnson (R-East Grand Forks) and Tomassoni (DFL-Chisholm)

Transportation finance – HF 1555

Conference committee information and bill comparisons can be found here and budget comparison spreadsheet here.

House conferees: Representatives Hornstein (DFL-Minneapolis), Koegel (DFL-Spring Lake Park), Tabke (DFL-Shakopee), Richardson (DFL-Mendota Heights) and Torkelson (R-Hanska)

Senate conferees: Newman (R-Hutchinson), Jasinski (R-Faribault), Hall (R-Burnsville), Rarick (R-Pine City) and Dibble (DFL-Minneapolis)

Several MCGA priorities are included or possible to include in the major spending bills. In addition the bills contain several provisions that impact agriculture that we will be watching very closely. As the legislature enters the final weeks we will be sure to keep you updated.

Be sure to follow the MCGA blog and its social channels (FacebookTwitter) throughout session for updates from the Capitol. You can also follow me on Twitter (@AjBilek).

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