Minnesota Legislature’s fast pace continues

Lawmakers recently wrapped up a busy first month of the 2014 Legislative Session. Some of our most noteworthy accomplishments to date include approving additional home heating assistance and cutting taxes for middle class Minnesotans and small businesses.

Due to a relatively late start on Feb. 25, compared to our Jan. 8 start date last year, the Legislature crammed a lot of work into these first few weeks, a period of time that is traditionally not very hectic.

One of the drivers behind our fast tempo is three separate deadlines for committees to approve legislation.

Friday, March 21 marked the first deadline for committees to act favorably on bills in their house of origin, with this past Friday designated as the deadline for committees to act favorably on bills, or companions of bills, that met the first deadline in the opposite chamber. The final deadline, which is this coming Friday on April 4, is for committees to act favorably on major appropriation and finance bills.

With the first two committee deadlines passed, we can expect lawmakers to ramp up their focus on bonding proposals and a supplemental budget – two areas that include a significant amount of funding.

Priorities in the House supplemental budget package build on the progress our state has made over the past year. The proposal includes additional funding for K-12 schools and high-quality early learning opportunities, home health care workers who provide care for our seniors and Minnesotans with disabilities, a farm-to-food shelf program, an expansion of high-speed broadband Internet in Greater Minnesota, and more dollars to improve our state’s transportation system.

After bills complete the committee process, they are ready to be debated on the House floor by the entire chamber. Before a bill gets signed into law, differences with similar legislation approved by the Senate must be ironed out in a conference committee made of members from both chambers. After the House and Senate approve the same version of a bill, it can then head to Governor Dayton’s desk.

While this first month of Session has certainly been hectic, I feel energized knowing we are doing good work for the people of Minnesota.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions about this year’s Legislative Session. You can reach me by phone at (651) 296-4193, by email at rep.jeanne.poppe@house.mn, or by postal mail at 487 State Office Building, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55155.

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