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Update from Ben Lien, MN House 4A

  • 18 May 2020
  • 3:00 PM
  • 23 May 2020
  • 11:30 PM


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Greetings from the Floor,

The House wrapped up its final week of the 2020 session last night.  The most notable bills passed by the House in the final week were:

  • HF2768: state employee contracts
  • HF4645: COVID-19 fund extended
  • HF4285: Omnibus Ag. Policy Bill
  • SF3072: Omnibus Data Practices Bill
  • SF2466: to protect against financial exploitation of adults
  • HF4601: opiate epidemic response account grants
  • SF3357: Omnibus Judiciary Policy
  • HF4490: Supplemental Ag. Finance Bill
  • HF4599: modifications to Farmer-Lender Mediation
  • HF4206: 2020 Workers’ Compensation Advisory Council Bill
  • HF2682: Omnibus Legacy Bill
  • HF4500: COVID-19 Grant Extensions
  • SF2130: Omnibus Liquor Bill
  • HF3156: Omnibus Public Safety COVID-19 Response Bill
  • HF462: Omnibus Transportation Policy Bill
  • SF3560: Omnibus Health and Human Services Policy Bill
  • HF4554: Omnibus Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund Bill
  • HF3808: Omnibus Pensions Bill
  • SF3683: Omnibus Higher Education Policy Bill
  • SF3258: Omnibus Public Safety Policy Bill
  • HF4415: Omnibus Education COVID-19 Response Bill (no money for hourly workers)
  • HF163: Omnibus Education and Early Childhood Policy Bill

The House voted on the Capital Investment Bill on Saturday, which included the following projects for our area:

  • $8.5 million for the Clay County waste transfer facility
  • $52 million for the 11thStreet grade separation
  • $20 million for statewide flood mitigation
  • $3 million for the Heartland Trail
  • $17.2 million for Weld Hall at the Minnesota State University Moorhead campus
  • $3 million for the Becker County Museum

The Capital Investment Bill fell 6 votes shy of passing to the Senate.  I supported it to get local infrastructure projects done across the state, address the backlog of projects that only get more expensive the longer they are put off and get some people working.  I can’t think of a more important time to pass funding for public works projects into law.  Interest rates are low, and people need jobs.  We need to pass a strong bill yet this year to maintain the partnership between the state and local communities.

I anticipate we will have a Special Session in June.  Specifically, people are looking at June 12.  That is when Gov. Walz’s current peacetime emergency will end, and I anticipate he will extend it at that time.  The peacetime emergency allows the governor to do things like activate and deploy the National Guard, give extensions on expiring driver’s licenses, and extend professional medical licenses that would otherwise expire.  If the Legislature isn’t in session when the governor declares a peacetime emergency, he must call for a Special Session.  There is more work to do including a Tax Bill, Capital Investment Bill and legislation to disperse the federal dollars appropriated through the CARES Act to our cities, counties and townships. 

In closing, I want to thank everyone for the last eight years.  It’s been the honor and privilege of a lifetime to represent you in St. Paul. I cannot thank you enough.  This is probably the strangest year to retire form the Legislature as the work will no doubt continue throughout the year.  I’ll continue to keep people updated on all the developments that happen.  I’ll continue to send email updates as I’m able.  Please continue to watch my legislative Facebook page for these updates too. 

Thank You for the Opportunity to Serve,


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