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Legislative Update: March 20, 2016

Posted By Administration, Sunday, March 20, 2016
Updated: Monday, March 28, 2016

Session Starts

Minnesota’s 89th Legislature officially began its second year on Tuesday, March 8, as both the House of Representatives and the Senate convened at Noon. Elected officials have been saying for months that one of the first issues to be addressed this year is the expiration of unemployment benefits for Iron Range miners. The House attempted to pass a bill off the floor on Tuesday, but because it included language that would cut unemployment insurance payments for businesses it was not passed, and was instead referred back to the committee process. The Senate was able to pass a bill on Thursday, March 10, that would provide $30 million in relief to the area and sent it to the House for approval. Action on the bill will likely take place early next week, and, as predicted, this will be the first bill signed into law by Gov. Mark Dayton this year.

Committees have begun meeting at their regularly scheduled times (check the combined legislative calendar to see each committee’s agenda), and they have begun taking action on bills. Legislators have just 10 weeks to work on their issues before the required adjournment date of Monday, May 23.

Minnesota State of the State

Similar to the United States president’s annual State of the Union address, the governor of Minnesota delivers an annual State of the State address to highlight priorities for the year. Due to the capitol renovation project, Gov. Dayton held his speech at the University of Minnesota’s McNamara Alumni Center this week. He spoke for 40 minutes about the issues facing Minnesota this year that he sees as most important. While many expected the governor to highlight programs he supported last year, he first expressed the importance of proceeding with caution when spending state money. The February budget forecast showed that Minnesota’s expected budget surplus dropped 25 percent to $900 million, and this been a cause for caution among many legislators and the governor’s administration.

While he did express fiscal caution, Gov. Dayton provided details on projects he would like to pursue this year. He plans to release a proposal next week that will seek to alleviate economic disparities for Minnesotans of color, which has been a prominent issue the past few years. He noted that he is still pursuing a comprehensive transportation funding plan that will provide a long-term solution to Minnesota’s aging roads and bridges. He also renewed his effort to provide universal pre-Kindergarten to 4-year-olds in the state, which was Gov. Dayton’s most notable priority last session. A new issue for this year is that he would like to invest $220 million into improving small municipalities to help maintain clean water and sewer systems.

The 2016 State of the State video can be viewed online.

Session Timeline

Because the legislature didn’t convene until March 8, this legislative session will clock in at 76 days in total. If the House and Senate can agree to transportation and tax omnibus bills before the May 23 deadline, this could be one of the shortest sessions in state history (the current mark is just 47 days).

The House and Senate have deadlines for passing bills out of their respective committees. If the bills do not meet their deadline they can no longer move forward. The deadlines work in three stages:

  • First deadline: April 1; committees must act favorably on bills in the house of origin.
  • Second deadline: April 8; committees must act favorably on bills that met the first deadline in the other house.
  • Third deadline: April 21; major appropriation (omnibus) bills must be passed by both chambers.

The legislature will also have March 25-28 off for Easter break, and April 22-25 off for Passover. This leaves a narrow timeframe for all the work to be accomplished — and with Gov. Dayton and legislative leaders expressing caution in spending state funds, it is anticipated that all sides will have to leave top priorities for another year.

CAI-MN Issues and What We are Tracking

With entering the second year of the biennium this session we have begun to see a number of news bills introduced this week. Along with all of the new ideas that legislators and interests groups have, all of the bills from last session are still alive for the next few weeks until deadlines pass. For most bills if they did not pass last session, the hurdle is high for them to get going this session. However, nothing is really dead until they go home. With that thought in mind, here are a number of bills that we are watching this session that impact common interest communities and associations:

  • SF339/HF 1959 Office of ombudsman for common interest communities establishment
  • HF1142 Residential property rights defined (political campaign signs)
  • SF 2566 Ground lease payment partial inclusion in shareholder manufactured home park cooperatives homestead credit state refund application
  • HF2650/SF2327 Receivership and assignments for the benefit of creditors provisions clarified, and short form of assignment for recording with a deed to transfer real property provided.

Along with a number of bills being introduced, CAI-MN is continuing to monitor pending language that we are expecting to be introduced this session dealing with reform around construction defect lawsuits that would reduce the statutory warranty periods under 327A and/or 515B. CAI-MN continues to watch for legislation and talk with legislators about language that would hinder the ability of HOA’s to institute construction defect lawsuits.

CAI-MN Legislative Action Committee

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