United States: 2018 Minnesota Legislative Session Outlook Recap
Last Updated: February 27 2018

Fredrikson & Byron's 2018 Session Outlook event provided those in attendance with an entertaining preview of what to expect during the upcoming session with tensions still lingering from political battles throughout the interim.

The legislative panel consisted of leaders from each caucus: Speaker of the House Kurt Daudt, House Minority Leader Melissa Hortman, Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk and Senate Deputy Majority Leader Michelle Benson, who also chairs the Senate Health and Human Services Finance and Policy Committee. Also, a major thank you to our moderator, award-winning veteran Twin Cities Public Television political reporter Mary Lahammer.

Below is a summary of responses from the four panelists to a variety of questions which were asked this year. For more detail about the program summary or more information about Fredrikson & Byron's Government Relations Team, contact Kevin Goodno at 612-492-7348 or kgoodno@fredlaw.com.

Session Priorities

What are the main priorities of your caucus this legislative session? Are there any feelings of ill will stemming from some of the legal battles that occurred during the interim, which may hinder real progress on these priorities this session?

Based on the responses from the panelists, we can expect tax conformity and further tax reforms to be a major topic of discussion during this session. Speaker Daudt expressed his optimism concerning the upcoming February forecast and predicted a half billion dollar surplus. Senator Benson added that the changes at the federal level present an opportunity to simplify Minnesota's tax code and keep the state competitive. Senator Bakk was more cautious towards the fiscal stability of the state economy and that too much money was spent last session, and focus should be given to leaving the next legislature and governor a balanced budget. Representative Hortman highlighted the work of Representative Olson and others in developing what they called the "Minnesota Values Project," which identified three different policy priorities: affordability and access to healthcare, affordable college tuition and fully funding K-12 education.

While all of the panelists expressed their interest in moving past previous political battles and working together, tensions did seem to persist. Funding the legislature looks like it will not be as simple as the Republicans had hoped for, with Democrats demanding that state contracts be included in any legislative funding bill. This news came as a shock to Speaker Daudt, though Representative Hortman conceded that Republicans have the votes to move any budget bill forward without her caucus' support.

2018 Elections

With two U.S. Senate seats, the Governor and the full House on the ballot, what will some of the major themes be in the 2018 election?

Each caucus leader had a unique take on what to expect this fall. Senator Benson highlighted the benefits of the federal tax bill as well as the failure of accountability and lack of oversight within government programs such as MNLARS and MNSure. Speaker Daudt echoed the positive impact that the tax bill will have on the middle/working class. Representative Hortman contradicted these statements and asserted that the fact is that the Republicans have only helped the rich get richer and have ignored the middle/working class. Senator Bakk explained that caucuses have lost the ability to control their messaging as independent expenditures have become a dominant force in campaigns. Senator Bakk said that he will follow the vision laid out by the presumptive DFL gubernatorial candidate, Tim Walz. Interestingly, Speaker Daudt said that he has not closed the door on a run for governor himself.


Last session, the legislature completed the undone work from 2016 with the passage of a bonding bill. How much is your caucus willing to invest in capital projects in 2018 and what types of projects need to be in – or out – of the bill to earn your member's support?

Unsurprisingly, the DFL leaders were pushing for a larger bonding bill while the Republican leaders pushed for a more conservative bonding bill. The Democrats focused more on construction projects aimed at creating jobs for working families. While the Republicans acknowledged that there was not a bonding bill passed in 2016, they made sure to mention that they already made significant investments last year and that their members would not have much of an appetite for another large bonding bill. As far as numbers, Representative Hortman is pushing for the largest possible bonding bill at $1.5 billion, Senator Bakk felt like $1 billion was probably the max he would be able to negotiate, and Speaker Daudt mentioned a possible $800 million cap.

Constitutional Amendments

Constitutional crisis was in the news a lot in 2017 on issues like the Governor's veto of legislative funding and the role of the Lt. Governor. Will you support any Constitutional Amendments for the 2018 ballot to address these or other issues?

All of our panelists expressed their interest in addressing the succession of the Lieutenant Governor through a Constitutional amendment in 2018. A possible transportation funding amendment to dedicate automotive taxes to roads and bridges was discussed, with Republicans favoring the idea and Democrats cautioning against taking funding away from the general fund.

People with Disabilities

Minnesota's system of community based services for seniors and people with disabilities is in the midst of a serious workforce shortage. What ideas do you and your caucuses have for addressing this current workforce shortage, which will only continue to grow as more seniors and people with disabilities seek access to community based services to maintain their independence in the community?

The senators tackled this question and neither of them suggested a funding increase, highlighting the increases that have already occurred in the recent past. Senator Benson emphasized the work of Senator Relph to find a new pool of workers. She also addressed the issue of the moratorium on beds, as well as our state's tax system, which encourages early retirees to move out of state and then to return later in life to take advantage of our state's level of senior care. Senator Bakk advised that, due to a lack of resources, the state cannot be the only answer in this area and that families will have to step up and take care of their family members in need of care.

Unsettled Teacher Contracts

With over 150 school district prek-12 teacher contracts unsettled, what resources will you offer to help districts move forwards?

The house members were given this question. Representative Hortman said that increase given was not enough and that the state needs to help districts with construction costs so they can refocus their levy revenues. Speaker Daudt had issues with how the funding increase was given, with 2 percent in the current biennium and 2 percent in the next. His preference would have been to give just 3 percent in the current biennium so that they do not have to lobby the next legislature in the next biennium. He went further to add that the ability to fund these increases is hindered due to increasing demand for Health and Human Services dollars to fund programs such as MNSure and social welfare.

Sexual Harassment

How will you be addressing sexual harassment institutionally? In particular, how do you plan to address sexual harassment of female lobbyists?

Several ideas were presented for addressing the issue of sexual harassment at the Capitol. Senator Bakk said that he is working with Senator Gazelka to examine what other states are doing and that they will be working together to revise current policies. Representative Hortman made it clear that this must be addressed and that she was confident based on conversations with the other leaders that it will be, but that there needs to be a non-partisan reporting system. Speaker Daudt has developed a zero tolerance policy within the House and has scheduled a mandatory sexual harassment training session, threatening the removal of committee assignments for failure to attend. He also announced the formation of a subcommittee to oversee workplace safety and respect, chaired by Majority Leader Joyce Peppin.

Check out snippets from this event in Mary Lahammer's coverage on Almanac.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Press Releases from this Firm
Recent Content from this Firm
By J. Marc Ward
By Fredrikson & Byron, P.A.
By Fredrikson & Byron, P.A.
By Fredrikson & Byron, P.A.
By Fredrikson & Byron, P.A.
By Fredrikson & Byron, P.A.
By Fredrikson & Byron, P.A.
By Eric J. Snustad, David West
By Steven Helland
By J. Marc Ward
Font Size:
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions