Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Another Quiet Day.  It's the calm before the storm (not tomorrow night's snowstorm) as tomorrow promises to be one of the more active days the Legislature has witnessed in a few years.  The morning will start out with the Senate Finance Committee constructing its omnibus supplemental appropriations bill.  That, along with the House's abbreviated schedule of morning hearings, will slide us up to the noon start time for the House and Senate floor sessions.  The House will be taking up HF 3172, its version of the omnibus supplemental appropriations bill, and HF 2180, the Heath Insurance Transparency Bill (Education Minnesota's bill requiring multiple sealed bids for health insurance) during its floor proceedings tomorrow.  That is nothing if not a healthy agenda that may take the floor session late into the night.  Of course, the possibility exists that not many amendments will be offered and that the proceedings will be largely dedicated to explanations of the bills and floor speeches.  It's hard to tell which is more likely and the actual floor session will likely fall somewhere  in between.  What makes it difficult to read is the Republican minority appears to be taking a couple of macro-strategies in attacking the DFL majority this year.  Instead of trying to grind down the process with countless amendments trying to play "gotcha" by getting DFLers who are perceived to be vulnerable to take bad votes, the Republicans seem to be zeroing in on several broad themes, particularly what they term to be a lack of interest in the problems faced by rural Minnesota, and letting the DFL legislation speak for itself.  Of course, that could all change tomorrow and we may see a number of "gotcha" amendments addressing a broad range of issues.  We just will have to wait and see.

The Senate is taking up HF 826, the anti-bullying bill, in what should be one of the most interesting floor sessions in recent years.  Significant changes have been made in the bill since it passed the House last spring, but there is no assurance that these changes will mollify opposition to the bill.  I would expect the bill's opponents to offer several significant amendments--perhaps including to substitute the text of SF 2411 (Nelson)--during the proceedings.  HF 2411 is very similar to the North Dakota bill that opponents have held up as a more reasonable model for anti-bullying legislation.

Here is a link to the latest iteration of HF 826:

Here is a link to SF 2411:

Education Bill Side-by-Side.  Deb Griffiths has put together an awesome side-by-side comparing the House and Senate education funding provisions in the omnibus supplemental appropriations bill.  It is on the SEE website, but I will also link it here.  One question I'm getting is where is the 1% increase in the general education basic formula in the House bill.  It is currently found in Article 17, Section 10 (p. 152) of HF 3712.  I have linked the bill for your convenience.

Anyway, if you want a comprehensive view of the differences between the House and Senate education articles, take a good look at Deb's work.  It's the most concise side-by-side that is currently available.

HF 3712:

Education Article Side-by-Side:

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