The Minnesota Legislature adjourned the 2018 session sine die just before midnight on Sunday, May 20, 2018. The House of Representatives took up two major initiatives before adjournment: the bonding bill and the pension bill.
The infrastructure-heavy bonding bill contains $1.43 billion in total appropriations; $825 million of which are general obligation bonding. The bill includes $129 million for Minnesota State, of which $45 million is for asset preservation, or HEAPR, and the remaining $84 million is for individual capital projects on various campuses. The University of Minnesota received $79.4 million with $45 million for asset preservation, or HEAPR.
The pension bill was passed within the last 10 minutes of the Minnesota Legislative Session with the House passing the bill 131-0 and the Senate passing the bill as amended 67-0. This is a major victory for Minnesota’s public workers and retirees as the bill provides $2.3 billion of state investment for the various funds with 30-year projections reaching 100 percent funding for all the plans.
The bill was culmination of work from multiple stakeholder groups and pension fund directors, trustees, and staff. The umbrella organization that Teamsters Local 320 jointly worked under is the Public Employee Pension Coalition, or PEPC. PEPC is comprised of the assorted fund directors and staff, public employee unions and associations, and retiree groups. This bill is truly historic as it passed every assigned committee and legislative body with unanimous support. This is indeed a rarity for public employee pensions and bipartisan efforts.
Local 320 must recognize the hundreds of Teamsters who made phone calls and sent emails to their legislators in support of the pension bill. We must also recognize the dedicated Local 320 members who attended the 2018 Lobby Day at the State Capitol and those who volunteered their time to phone bank other members. These efforts, and the efforts of our partner groups, are what put this bill and its overwhelming support over the top!
The labor agreement for Local 320’s MSUAASF group, or ASF also passed the legislature on Sunday evening. While this took longer than desired, we are pleased to have a contract finally in place. The contract will not go into effect until July 1, 2018—not upon Governor Dayton’s signature as the other contracts did. This is because the vehicle bill (SF3062) our contract was amended to have implementation dates for other things starting on July 1. While this is not ideal, it does not affect anything in terms of back-pay or salary increases.
Teamsters Local 320 is very pleased to have the PTSD bill passed through the legislature that will help our First Responders (police, firefighters, and EMTs) get the workers comp protection for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder they need and deserve. This law now creates a presumption that for these Minnesotans - who serve us every day in dangerous, stressful and highly emotional circumstances - a diagnosis of PTSD is recognized as caused by the nature of their work. This will make treatment available to more who need it. It also covers State Patrol, county sheriffs, deputies, 911 dispatch personnel, corrections officers, some emergency nurses, and state security counselors.
Teamsters Joint Council 32 and Local 320 were major proponents of the PTSD bill for First Responders and were instrumental in the legislation garnering unanimous support in both legislative chambers.
As for the supplemental budget bill, during the last couple of days of session, the Senate passed the large supplemental budget conference committee report that included all spending, by a vote of 35-32, and the House passed it by a vote of 76-49. Prior to passage, the Governor sent conferees a list of 117 objections he had with the spending bill. Conferees changed or deleted 71 of the Governor’s objections in an attempt at compromise.
Lawmakers also put together a tax and education (safe school funding) bill after Dayton vetoed the first tax bill they sent him. However, in the remaining few hours of session, Dayton said he plans to veto the tax-education bill and spending bill as they currently stand. "They would have taken the opportunity for us to work collaboratively and cooperatively together, we could have gotten these things done and put together," Dayton said.