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Steve Fenske April 27, 2018

2018 Session Update Week 10

Its all coming together … there has been a lot of activity at the capitol this week as omnibus bills have been assembled and are being debated. We’ve been examining the omnibus bills and contacting legislators about the items of concern.

Transportation: The hot item in transportation this week was the constitutional amendment proposing the dedication of sales tax from auto parts to transportation purposes (HF 4437). The House Transportation Finance Committee passed the bill out of committee and referred it the Ways and Means Committee. MAT expressed support for the bill during the hearing. The Senate Transportation Committee held heard the companion bill, SF3837, on March 26 and referred it to the Taxes committee. The issue is controversial because if the constitutional amendment passed, it would permanently move money that currently goes into the General Fund into transportation funding. Opponents of the bill argue it makes it limits funding that could otherwise be used for other purposes. In short, it leaves less money in the general fund that can be distributed to the many interests seeking funding.

Annexation: Following the disappointing result in Midway Township’s annexation case, the Senate Local Government Committee held an informational hearing on Senate File 4020, which is the newest version of the bill to protect Orderly Annexation agreements. MAT credits Senator Bruce Anderson for working with us on this issue. The hearing was successful in starting a conversation among the committee members about annexation law in general. Several members, including Senators Hall, Anderson, and Relph expressed interest in continuing discussions about possible annexation law reforms.

Sealed Bids: Good news! Towns may be able to avoid the demands of sealed bidding more often because the Governor signed Session Law Chapter 107 (HF 3841) into law on Thursday. The bill increases the threshold for sealed bidding to $175,000. All other parts of the Municipal Contracting Law remain the same.

Donations to Food Shelves: The Governor sign Session Law 105 on April 25, which amends Minnesota Statute 465.039 to allow town boards to donate money to a food shelf organization.

Bill Log – Updated to 4/26/18