Each week during the Minnesota legislative session, the Minnesota Farm Bureau will highlight its work with elected officials to support our members and agriculture. While we advocate for our members on a wide variety of topics, our Board of Directors set six priority issues for the 2022 state legislative session, and our efforts to advance those issues are highlighted below.
Recap: Week of March 21-25, 2022
During the week, our public policy team and leadership connected with elected officials and other policy influencers to share our member's stories and build relationships to reinforce our position as a leader in agriculture issues in Minnesota.
Friday, March 25 marked the first committee deadline of the 2022 session. The first deadline means that a bill must be acted favorably upon in the chamber it originated in, so there has a been a mad dash of committee hearings to make sure bills stayed alive through the legislative process. The second deadline, which a bill or companion bill must be acted upon in the other chamber, is Friday, April 1. The third deadline is Friday, April 8 and requires committees to act favorably on major appropriation and finance bills. These deadlines do not apply to House committees on Capital Investment, Ways and Means, Taxes, or Rules and Legislative Administration, nor to the Senate committees on Capital Investment, Finance, Taxes, or Rules and Administration which means we won’t see the omnibus tax bill until closer to the end of session.
Farm Bureau priority issues continue to advance at the state capitol this week (please note this is not an inclusive list of bills supported or opposed by MFBF):
H.F. 3783 (Olson, L.) Modifies the 2021 omnibus law to increase the appropriation for grants to local communities to increase the number of quality child care providers by $5,000,000 in fiscal year 2023, for a total of $10,000,000 for these grants over the biennium. Authorizes the Minnesota Initiative Foundations to make subgrants to partner organizations. This section is effective the day following final enactment. MFBF supports this bill. This bill supports our 2022 priority issue to support and strengthen our rural communities, specifically by addressing childcare shortages in rural Minnesota.
S.F. 3479 (Westrom) Rural Finance Authority revolving loan account for drought relief appropriation. In addition to the grants and loans for drought relief, this bill also includes funding for the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory to purchase equipment used in animal disease testing as well as funding for the agricultural emergency account and allows for the use of funds to purchase avian influenza testing supplies. MFBF supports this bill; it passed out of Senate Finance and will be taken up by the full Senate. MFBF submitted written comments. This bill supports MFBF’s leadership in providing drought relief for Minnesota farmers and ranchers.
H.F.4057 (Anderson) Meat cutting and butchery training grant funding provided, and money appropriated. MFBF supports this bill. The bill was laid over for possible inclusion in a future omnibus bill. This legislation support MFBF’s 2022 priority issue to address food and agriculture supply chain challenges.
H.F.3947 (Hansen) This bill would require a person applying to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) for a feedlot permit to submit proof of financial assurance (i.e., a bond, irrevocable letter of credit, etc.) sufficient to pay for the feedlot closure requirements under MPCA’s chapter 7020 feedlot rules. It would also require counties and MPCA to develop a list of abandoned or closed feedlots. The bill appropriates money to MPCA for its duties under this act, and for grants to counties and the Minnesota Association of County Feedlot Officers. MFBF opposes this bill and joined seven other organizations in written comments expressing our concerns. Those written comments can be found here.