The Senate rolled up all their spending bills into one large "Omnibus" bill, on Thursday, which contains and combines the spending bills from all of the various finance divisions. The Senate debated the bill in one marathon session of nearly 12 hours, Democrats pointed out that it violated the single-subject law, but only John Marty, an ideological purist among DFLers really had standing to complain, since the "Supplemental Spending bill" has been passed as a single bill many times in the past, with DFL authorship.
Unless the House rolls up their bills as floor amendments it looks like they will be sent to the Senate as different bills. This will require some coordination during the Conference committee to match up the parts. Again, no new thing as when you have differences of placement in legislation like this, what happens is a rotating cast of characters at the conference committees, so that when one team finishes it's portion of the bill, another team takes over, with the respective chairs of the committees taking the gavel.
What's in the Senate bill?
- $19.8 million in Safe Schools Revenue to hire school counselors and school resource officers, develop mental health programming, make security-related facility improvements
- Strengthens background checks on school employees by requiring them once every three years, as opposed to just once upon hire.
- Mental health counseling support to farm families.
- More training for social workers in child protection
- An opioid Prescription Monitoring Program, grants for opioid abuse prevention programs, laws which require paramedics to provide follow up care for opioid overdose patients.
- Transparency for prescription medications, allowing pharmacists to talk about cost options.
- Workforce development scholarships for students entering high-demand occupations, student loan debt counseling, loan forgiveness for agricultural educators, and more affordable textbooks.
- Higher penalties for the production and sale of child pornography, particularly when the victims are children under age 13.
- $15 million investment in the Border-to-Border Broadband grant program.
- Upgrades to the voter registration system.
- Telecommunications equity access aid for schools.
- Expedited processing of vehicle title transactions held up by the failed MNLARS system.
- Restructuring MN.IT, after the numerous failures with MLARS, MNSURE and other systems and allows state agencies to hire qualified outside contractors.
- Deregulation of nitrogen fertilizer rules for farmers that have not been approved by the legislature.
- Prevents another raid of the highway user tax distribution fund – money meant for road construction – to pay for call center employees.
For detail here is the text of the bill, the Senate Counsel Summary and the Fiscal Spreadsheet.
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