MN lawmakers discuss how to pass balanced budget on time

MN lawmakers discuss how to pass balanced budget on time Click to Enlarge

The Minnesota House Subcommittee on Legislative Process Reform has begun meetings on how the legislature can improve efforts to pass a balanced budget on time.

At the first meeting this week, the subcommittee chair, Democrat Gene Pelowski of Winona, said there have been 17 special sessions in the last 21 years. Pelowski said things have gotten hung up in the so-called “ownership” of individual members' bills.

"I would argue that we have lost focus on our constitutional responsibility of the budget and we have refocused on hearing members' bills," Pelowski said. "That's not our responsibility. Our responsibility is to pass a balanced budget and we have failed in it multiple times."

In the 2019 session, 2,921 House bills were introduced -- 200 more than the 2017 session.

Pelowski said two potential reforms are currently under discussion.

One would be to use budget numbers provided by the state Management and Budget office’s November Forecast to begin the budgeting process in January, rather than waiting for the February Forecast.

The other would be a rule requiring 24 hours to elapse between when a conference committee report is signed … and when floor action could be taken on it.

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