The Minnesota Legislature is scheduled to return for the second year of the 85th session at noon, Feb. 12. According to the State Constitution, the Legislature is allowed 120 days over the biennium in which to get its work completed. Last year, it took 75 legislative days, leaving 45 days for this year’s work. Legislators must complete their work by the first Monday after the third Saturday in May, or May 19.
Traditionally, the second year of the biennium is commonly known as the “bonding year,” and is reserved for consideration of investment in capital projects. Local units of government, higher education systems and state agencies have submitted proposals totaling more than $3 billion. However, to stay within debt service guidelines, the general obligation bonding cap is likely to be around $965 million, an amount the governor has proposed. Once the February Economic Forecast is released, the bonding number could be adjusted.
House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher (DFL-Mpls) and House Majority Leader Tony Sertich (DFL-Chisholm) have announced committee deadlines in the House. They are:
● March 14 – committees act favorably on bills in the house of origin;
● March 19 – committees act favorably on bills or companions that met the first deadline in the other body; and
● March 28 – committees act favorably on major appropriation and finance bills.
Committees are to meet as scheduled in the afternoon of the first day of session. However, no committee meetings will be held before 3 p.m. Feb. 13 due to Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s State of the State Address in St. Cloud.
An Easter Break is tentatively scheduled from 5 p.m. March 19 to noon March 25. Information about the legislative process and the Minnesota House of Representatives can be accessed through the House Web site at www.house.mn.