This is what we are projecting will happen at the state legislature over the next 3 – 4 weeks.  The Minnesota Senate and House will have released their budget targets sometime within the next week.  The Senate released a rough outline of its budget on Friday, March 17, which we will analyze in more detail and give you more information in our next Public Policy Update.  We are likely to be disappointed in and greatly concerned about the health and human services targets because they will likely be negative targets (which means cuts in some programs).

The chairs of the Health and Human Services (HHS) Committees — Senator Jim Abeler, Senator Michelle Benson, and Representative Matt Dean — will struggle to put their budgets together while maintaining their commitments to services and supports to persons with disabilities.  Possibly by the end of this week or early the following week, these committee chairs will release their proposed omnibus bills (i.e., budget bills for health and human services).  Hearings will be held on the bills, and we will be able to express what we like and don’t like.  The committees will then pass those HHS omnibus bills.

A conference committee will then be formed to resolve the differences between the Senate and House bills.  The omnibus bill they eventually agree on will then be sent to the entire Senate and entire House for a vote; if that bill is approved, it will be sent to the Governor.  The Governor will then veto the bill, because it will contain many items he disagrees with and will not contain many items he wants.  Then the real negotiations will begin during the last month of the 2017 Legislative Session.

This is all a projection of what could happen.  It will certainly have many twists and turns.  Your job will be to continue your proactive advocacy on the issues you are passionate about.

You have definitely had a positive impact this year with that advocacy, and I look forward to working with you throughout the rest of the 2017 legislative session.

Steve Larson, Senior Policy Director