Our approach to the 2020 Legislative Session
With only 13 weeks to complete work during the 2020 legislative session, Governor Walz and legislators have their work cut out for them.
Traditionally, legislative sessions in even-numbered years are dedicated to consideration of a bonding (capital investment) bill and policy. However, with a projected $1.3 billion surplus and state reserve accounts flush, there will certainly be debate on spending that surplus.
The coming November 2020 elections are sure to be on lawmakers minds during session. With 201 legislators, all eight U.S. Congressional seats, one U.S. Senate seat and an already-dominating-the-headlines U.S. presidential race on the ballot, lawmakers will use the power of the microphone to build their case to Minnesota voters (and tear down their opponents’ message).
The Independent Community Bankers of Minnesota will be active on several issues this session including:
- Preventing elder financial abuse – Community bankers are often among the first to notice signs of elder financial abuse. Last session ICBM was an integral part of legislation (SF2466/HF2475) that would provide stronger immunity protections for financial institutions that report financial abuse. ICBM will work to move this legislation to the finish line this year.
- Unclaimed property reform – Last session, the Department of Commerce introduced legislation aimed at better connecting consumers to unclaimed property, including dormant accounts at financial institutions. ICBM President & CEO Jim Amundson and our lobbying team spent the last six months working with the department to iron out areas of disagreement, including the definition of ownership for customer accounts that have automatic debits and credits. ICBM supports efforts to make our consumer protection laws more uniform but they must work for our consumers. While it is unclear if there will be active legislation in 2020, ICBM will be at the forefront to protect our members and your customers.
You can find a more comprehensive list of ICBM’s 2020 legislative agenda in the attached document. Please feel free to share this information with your state legislators and community partners.
These issues won’t be discussed in a vacuum. Here is a quick snapshot of what else will be swirling around the legislative session:
- Hot-button issues – You’ve likely seen the headlines regarding financial errors at the state’s Department of Human Services that negatively impacted individuals, tribes, and counties. The legislature will certainly debate how to address these errors, totaling more than $30 million. There are also a number of other large policy issues that were unresolved in 2019 and will be considered again this year: access and price controls on insulin, clean energy, expanded access to medical cannabis, and gun control. Layer the politics of these issues on top of negotiations on a bonding bill and state budget and we will have ourselves an exciting legislative session!
- Senate DFL adjustments – Senate Democrats elected Senator Susan Kent (Woodbury) to replace Senator Tom Bakk (Cook) as caucus leader in the weeks leading up to session. With only a two-seat minority, we will be paying attention to the caucus adjustments that take place and how that could impact contentious bills (e.g. bonding, energy) where Senate Republicans needs DFL votes.
- Retirements – More than a dozen legislators have already announced their retirement (including long-time community banker Rep. Bob Vogel) during what is an important election year. We will be watching how those retirements could impact party control in the 2020 election and how it could impact the redistricting process that will begin in 2021.
If you have questions regarding the Minnesota legislative process, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Jim Amundson at firstname.lastname@example.org.