Lawmakers have immediate work to address when then 2018 legislative session convenes Tuesday, starting with passing a budget bill for their own operations since Gov. Mark Dayton’s veto of their budget was upheld last year.
There could be some fireworks on a vote this week to restore the legislature’s operating budget if DFLers make an attempt to get the state employee contracts ratified as part of a bill to fund the legislature. The House GOP has the votes to stave off this attempt should it be made, but it could sour attitudes right out of the gate.
View the key education issues for this session.
The other big question is what is going to happen on the Senate floor Tuesday when Lt. Governor and Senate President Michelle Fischbach gavels the Senate back to order.
Last week a Ramsey district judge dismissed the case against Fischbach serving in the two roles because the issue wasn’t “ripe” yet, meaning since they’re weren’t in session when he heard the case there was no real damage at that moment. Once Fischbach starts voting, that changes and the lawsuit against her likely would be filed again.
Budget & Bonding
Depending on how much or how little of a mess is made the first week of session will set the tone for their ability to tackle several big issues. Federal tax conformity will be vexing.
Disagreements over the size and scope of a bonding bill will linger until the very end of session when a deal either comes together or not.
The February budget forecast is expected to show a surplus between a $600 million to $1 billion for the current biennium. The Senate GOP has been talking about no new spending this session, but there may be pressure on the House GOP to produce a supplemental budget bill as they head out for election. Fixes for TRA and other pension programs are in the hunt as well.
They have until May 21 to finish any work that needs to be done.