Governor-elect Tim Walz and Lt. Governor-elect Peggy Flanagan are heavy into their transition process, including gaining citizen input on agency leadership during a statewide tour over the past several days.
They’re accepting applications for agency commissioner posts until Dec. 7. While there’s no date certain when new agency commissioners will be appointed, there’s a sense they would like to have many key posts announced before the holidays. Key posts include commissioners for Minnesota Management & Budget, the departments of Revenue, Education, Health, Human Services, Corrections, Natural Resource, Pollution Control and others.
It’s possible that Walz will keep some of outgoing Gov. Mark Dayton’s commissioners. Myron Frans at MMB is a likely hold over as he can play a very helpful hand in preparing a new two-year operating budget. Cynthia Bauerly at Revenue could be asked to stay on since federal tax conformity is a significant holdover issue from 2018. In addition to these two posts, the MDE and Office of Higher Education Commissioners are of most interest to MREA.
November’s election put the House DFL back into majority status when session gavels in on Jan. 8. Melissa Hortman (Brooklyn Park) will take over as Speaker and Ryan Winkler (Golden Valley) will take over as House Majority Leader. Together, they’re putting together the committee structure and additional leadership team they need to run the House.
The DFL is making some changes to the committee structure as they look ahead to the new biennium. There are some mainstay committees like Education Finance and Health & Human Services Finance. However, the House DFL plans to add an Early Childhood Committee.
Here’s a look at the chairs of the education committees:
- Education Finance: Jim Davnie (Minneapolis)
- Education Policy: Cheryl Youakim (Hopkins)
- Public Safety: Carlos Mariani (Long-time DFL lead on Education Policy will tackle criminal justice reform issues).
- Early Childhood: Dave Pinto (St. Paul)
- Tax: Paul Marquart (Dilworth)
The next piece of information we’re waiting on amidst the House transition is for committee assignments. It’s possible we’ll see those before the holidays.
The Senate GOP retained control of the chamber by one vote (34-33) with a win in the Senate District 13 special election last month. Due to the retirement of Michelle Fischbach and the ascension of Jeremy Miller to the position of Senate President, there will be a slight rearrangement of the Senate committee chairs.
Most important for education is that Carla Nelson (Rochester) will chair a combined E-12 Finance & Policy Committee. Combining this committee has been done by both the GOP and DFL in recent history.
Eric Pratt (Prior Lake) had chaired the Senate’s E-12 Policy Committee, but will now take over as chair of the Jobs & Economic Development Committee. Jeremy Miller previously held this position.
Paul Anderson (Minnetonka) will take over the Higher Education Committee.