We have been wading through a whole host of “other” bills this week as we await some bigger ones like bonding and supplemental tax and budget bills to come to the floor.
One of them we addressed pertains to employees continuing the union representation they previously had even when joint-power boards form. This is an issue which has impact in our area as local governments work together.
The bill I am referencing (SF 2490) was modified in the legislative process to address some issues, but concerns remain about whether this bill will discourage local governments from working together when, in fact, we should be encouraging them to come together when it means more efficient work. A mediator should be able to step in and reconcile differences between respective union contracts in such cases. Click here for a brief video where I spoke about this subject on the House floor Tuesday.
As for the “big” bills, it appears we could hear the bonding bill on the House floor as soon as Monday. Indications are the final plan will borrow and spend $846 million in bonds to fund construction projects all across Minnesota. On top of that, they are proposing around another $200 million in a stand-alone cash bill to pay for other work.
Disappointingly, it does not look like funding for the Lewis and Clark Regional Water System, which brings much-needed water to communities in Southwestern Minnesota, will be included. There is a shortage of quality drinking water in that part of the state and it is hard to imagine some of the more questionable projects will take priority over that issue. We’ll see what transpires.
We also expect to hear a supplemental tax bill on the floor soon. They reportedly ironed out House and Senate differences Wednesday night for what would be a second omnibus tax bill this session. I will get back with the details once we are able to give the bill a full rundown.
That other budget bill also is in the works (the additional $200 million on top of bonding) and we anticipate picking that up next week as well. That will be a busy stretch of days as we creep closer to the May 19 deadline to adjourn. We may get done a few days early, or could run right down to the wire. I’ll let you know what transpires.