2017 Minn. Session leaves some questions, delivers on some key agriculture issues

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The “end” of the 2017 Minnesota legislative session did not lack any fire works as a special session had to be called at 12:01 Tuesday, May 23after only four of the ten omnibus bills had passed by the May 22, 11:59 p.m. deadline. Prior to the special session, a signed agreement was reached between the Governors’ office and all caucuses of the legislature to end the special session by 7:00 am Wednesday. The agreement did not include a commitment by the Governor to sign the bills.
But, the agreement broke down when republican majorities could not process the bills to the floor on time and democrats started to tactically and procedurally prolong and delay floor votes. Finally, after three days, the final omnibus bill passed the Senate and House at 3:00 a.m. on Friday, May 26.
With Gov. Dayton’s signature, all bills were signed to complete the state’s two-year, $46 billion-dollar budget. However, the Governor line-item vetoed funding for the Minnesota House and Senate, an attempt, he said, to bring leaders of the Republican-controlled Legislature back to the table to remove a handful of provisions in the tax bill and education and public safety budget bills he did not want to become law.
In response, leaders of the Republican-controlled legislature are moving forward with a lawsuit against DFL Gov. Dayton. They announced the lawsuit on June 13 after failed negotiations with the Gov.’s office.
While the lawsuit moves through the courts, there were some victories for those in the agriculture community from this session including tax relief, buffer legislation modifications, and transportation funding for roads and bridges.

Unfortunately, Minnesota Pork Producers Association sponsored provisions on Ag Nuisance lawsuits and Environmental Assessment Worksheets in the Agriculture Finance bill and Environment Finance Bill were met with the Governor’s adamant opposition and were ultimately dropped by the conferees from the final bills.

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