Updates & Commentary on the Legislative Process

  • Legal Loophole in CCAP allows child care centers to bill for services they do not provide

    Perhaps by coming together on the CCAP fraud issue, lawmakers can begin to plan for a complete overhaul of Minnesota’s generous and infamous welfare system. What other programs are being ripped off? Welfare fraud is nothing new in Minnesota and began long before Somali refugees started arriving in the 1990’s. Any major overhaul will require the support of Governor Walz to be successful. Perhaps the federal government could get the governor’s attention.

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  • The Taxman Cometh

    The timing couldn’t be more unfortunate for DFLers. Days before the April 15 tax filing deadline, the DFL has unveiled massive tax increases that will hit every Minnesotans. Media attention has largely focused on the $1.2 billion net increase over the next biennium in the tax bill H.F. 2125. But Republicans are quick to point to a $12 billion increase in taxes that’s inside Gov. Walz’s budget blueprint over the next four years. The hikes include extension of the $2.5 billion health care provider tax (aka sick tax), a 20 cent per gallon increase in the gas tax and a...

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  • Pension Omnibus Bill Increases General Fund Contributions to City of Minneapolis; Makes Bailout to Local Government Fund Permanent

    The 2018 bill was supposed to immediately and miraculously drop the unfunded liability by billions while lowering the assumed rate of return and solve the funding crisis “for the next 30 years.” The problem is that lawmakers reached a political compromise, which is what elected officials do, but pensions are a mathematical and actuarial puzzle that is immune to political fixes.

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Capitol Follies

  • Simon Says “I Need More Money”

    Andy Cilek isn’t tired of all the winning yet. The executive director of the Minnesota Voters Alliance has just notched another court victory over Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon in a case involving public data that could expose voter fraud. Even as Simon mulls an appeal of his latest court loss to MVA, Minnesota’s top elections official is requesting funding to pay for another lawsuit at the hands of his nemesis before the U.S. Supreme Court in 2018. Included in the House DFL’s state government finance bill is $1.29 million requested by Simon to pay attorney fees for Cilek’s...

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  • Omnibus prime squared?

    Democrats didn’t like the 990-page 2018 supplemental spending bill which was vetoed by Gov. Mark Dayton. They dubbed it the Omnibus Omnibus bill or Omnibus Prime. Less than a year later, the Democrats now in charge of the House unveiled their 998-page Health and Human Services budget bill. The measure, funding only two of the state’s government agencies, was unveiled Tuesday, a mere three hours before the bill’s hearing kicked off. The bill will only become further bloated as it moves from committee to committee.

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  • Talk About Low Expectations

    Members of the Legislative Salary Council met recently to discuss how much Minnesota legislators should get paid for the next two years. One of the members floated the idea of giving legislators a bonus if they passed a budget on time – talk about low expectations! In the same vein, several lawmakers introduced a bill that would continue paying state employees’ salaries and benefits if the legislature and governor fail to pass state agency budgets. This may sound like a good idea to avoid future gubernatorial hissy fits, like the one two years ago when Gov. Dayton vetoed the legislature’s entire budget....

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Your St. Paul Buzz

  • Overtime?

    A little birdie tells Capitol Watch the week after the Easter break the legislature will begin considering the massive budget bills that fund the state government. Look for long hours of debate and perhaps a rare Sunday session that has been penciled in for April 28.

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  • Noncompliant License to Drive

    In a rare Friday legislative floor session, the House plans to take up the drivers license bill for undocumented, i.e. illegal, immigrants. The Noncompliant Driver’s License bill sponsored by Majority Leader Ryan Winkler, DFL-Golden Valley, H.F. 1500, would allow undocumented immigrants to obtain a valid Minnesota driver’s license. DFL lawmakers have been hatching plans to revisit the controversial issue ever since Gov. Mark Dayton was outmaneuvered by the then-Republican majority into signing a budget bill that included a provision banning illegal immigrants from obtaining a license to drive.

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  • Do-Nothing Legislature to Hit the Accelerator

    We’re almost halfway through the 2019 legislative session and to date only two bills have reached the governor’s desk. End of session panic is setting in earlier than usual with the House already scheduling weekend sessions in April, well ahead of the May adjournment. While the House DFL majority has vowed not to legislate in the dead of night, apparently it OK on weekends in April when Minnesotans’ attention turns to the outdoors.

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