Hello from the State Capitol

By Rep. Denny McNamara, (R), HD57B, April 12, 2011

Hello from the State Capitol,

I’m pleased to report that the Minnesota House has approved its balanced budget legislation. As we do every budget cycle, lawmakers craft a funding proposal for each area of government – such as environment, K-12 education, and transportation. Once each of these omnibus finance proposals are approved, the House has then finalized funding for all state government services.

To have this process completed in early April is quite unusual. You may recall that in years past, most of these bills are not brought to the House floor until only a few days remain in the legislative session. This is by far the earliest we have completed our House budget since I’ve been serving as your state representative, and I’m glad the legislature acted with a sense of urgency this year.

Our omnibus finance bills will now head to conference committee, which is a group made up of five state representatives and five senators. This committee is appointed when each legislative body passes a bill on a particular topic, but the language contained in the proposals is not identical. The joint House/Senate committee then works out the differences between the bills, and agrees on a proposal that can be approved by both bodies.

For instance, as Chair of the Minnesota House Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Policy and Finance Committee, I will serve on the conference committee that will fund our environment needs over the next two years. My goal will be to prioritize things like our state parks, the Minnesota Zoo, and other statewide assets. We will likely meet a few times, negotiate, and then bring our compromise legislation up for a vote before the full House and Senate.

When the conference committee reports are approved, they will be sent on to Governor Dayton, where he will hopefully sign them into law. The
good news is if he chooses to veto any of our proposals, there will be plenty of time to negotiate with the Governor’s Office on a different solution over the next few weeks.

I will be sure to keep you updated on our progress in conference committees as our legislation moves forward.

Keep in touch,
Denny

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