MN Leg Session 2020, Interrupted

Updated June 9, 2020:

In case you missed every news cycle of the past two weeks, the TL;DR is that a lot has happened in Minnesota -- specifically Minneapolis and St. Paul -- following the murder of George Floyd at the hands of police in South Minneapolis.

There is a lot in motion, including Keith Ellison, the MN Attorney General, taking on the criminal case of George Floyd's murderer and accomplices.

Also elevated to the state level for the upcoming special session is discussion around policing, use-of-force, and requirements on where police officers live, among other topics that have long been neglected and lead to systemic injustice (MPR has a good rundown).

The team at Apparatus will closely watch the discussions and outcomes at the legislature in the coming weeks and we'll be back with more analysis as progress does (or does not) occur.


Now that we're a week out of the end of the 2020 MN Legislative Session (as scheduled, anyway) and things are becoming ever so slightly clearer, we wanted to share a brief overview of what happened, what didn't, and what's next.

What Happened

TL;DR: Everything was business as usual until mid-March when all focus had to go to Covid-19 support. Big legislation passed this year included the emergency insulin bill and hundreds of millions in Covid relief.

It was definitely an atypical year at the legislature. Everything seemed to be moving along as expected until the Coronavirus descended and it became clear that was our state's critical focus for the time being. There were some interesting and important bills introduced (such as Rep. Winkler's bill to legalize and regulate adult-use cannabis and setup an equitable industry in MN) but most will have to be shelved until next year.

What Didn't

TL;DR: The main thing that was supposed to get done: A bonding bill.

MPR has a great rundown of where everything stalled out as the 2020 session adjournment deadline loomed.

What's Next

TL;DR: A special session in mid-June.

Because the Governor declared a peacetime emergency until at least June 12, the legislature already planned to be back at the Capitol to take up a possible extension of the state of emergency order. Now, they'll just have even more work to do.

While it was a disappointing session on many accounts, there is still a special session or two to come. More importantly, there are also November elections. Every seat in the Minnesota legislature is up for grabs so brace yourself for a lot of posturing ahead. Minnesota currently has the only split legislature in the country and there are tight races statewide that could shift power everywhere.

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