Conference Committee Kicks Off Its Work. The omnibus supplemental budget bill conference committee began its work today with a review of what is contained in each of the bills. It doesn't appear that all of the provisions in each bill will be presented today simply because there is so much material in both bills. The question of how the Senate omnibus education policy bill--which was traveling separately--will be handled has been answered. The provisions of SF 2744 will be discussed in the negotiations of the omnibus supplemental budget bill. In other words, we'll be lifting the final bill with a forklift.
The Legislature must finish its work by Sunday, May 22. The Legislature must adjourn on Monday, May 23, but the Minnesota Constitution prohibits the passage of bills on the last day in which the Legislature can meet. With the fishing opener this coming weekend, that means the weekdays from here on out will be dedicated to conference committee proceedings. The Senate's failure to pass its bonding bill has thrown a bit of a wrench into the works, but it wouldn't be a surprise if the Senate revisited the issue by scaling down their bonding bill and picking up the additional Republican vote they need to pass their bonding bill off the Senate floor. The bonding bill requires 60% of the Senate's 67 members (or 41 votes) instead of a simple majority in order to pass and that requires some members of the minority caucus to support the bill this year.
So it's going to be a sprint to the end and I'll try to keep you posted as things become known.