The 88th Legislative Session is underway with approximately 500 bills being introduced. All bills must be out of the house of origin next week. That gives us 2 meetings before the deadline. Most committees are in good shape except for State Affairs and Judiciary. We will probably be looking at night meetings next week.
So far the 2 biggest issues are guns and Medicaid. The gun bills are falling on the wayside. The Medicaid issue involves several expansion bills and of course money.
We have 4 bills that relate to the franchise tax. Rumor has it that the Senate bills (112 & 113) will go away and the 2 House bills (1045 & 1046) will be amended. We don't know what the amendments are at this time. Early on we were opposed to the bills as written.
Senate Bill 111 is a bill that is necessary to fulfill the Dodd Frank requirements in the Federal legislation. The bill passed the Senate Committee unanimously.
There were 4 bills introduced to change the exemption parameters in bankruptcy. HB 1130 increased the personal property exemption from $4-6,000 to $6-8,000 for head of household and a total of $14,000 for a married couple. A deal was cut to allow that increase to go through and in return the car exemption, annuity limit and the alimony exemption were eliminated. The prime sponsor honored his commitment and at this time HB 1130 has passed the House.
Townships are attempting to increase the transfer tax and in fact, the bill allows them to assess a transfer fee specific to roads thus bypassing the counties which currently receive all of the transfer tax.
In the end money will be the big issue. All the same players will be in line. Education, both elementary, secondary, and Higher Education and also Technical Schools will continue to fight for more funding. State health insurance shortfalls and Medicaid will also be looking for new money in the general bill.
McCurry, a native of MN and resident of Mitchell, SD, holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications / Marketing from the Minnesota State University, Mankato. Prior to joining the ICBSD as President and CEO, he directed the marketing, sales and government relations efforts at Santel