Category archives

Each fall, CGMC members work together to shape the Coalition’s policy positions for the upcoming legislative session. Policy committees will be convening by conference call in October and early November to draft recommendations which will be discussed and voted on by the full membership at the Fall Conference Nov. 16-17. Serving on a policy committee is a great way to contribute to the work of the CGMC. Please contact the appropriate staff member listed below if you are interested in serving on one or more of the committees. The exact meeting dates and times will be determined soon.

The Humphrey School of Public Affairs is now accepting entries for its 11th annual Local Government Innovation Awards (LGIA) to recognize the creative and innovative ways that cities, counties, townships, schools and Native Nations are serving Minnesotans.
Submitted projects are evaluated on how they create greater accountability; use incentives, targeting and funding to meet those in need; orchestrate competitive contracting; manage collaboration or consolidation; deploy prevention strategies that eliminate the need for a service or divest current services to the community. The LGIA jury will consider innovation, impact and sustainability of projects when determining the award winners. Up to 20 local government entities will be recognized. The winner in each of the five categories will receive a $5,000 grant and a professional video highlighting their work.
Entries for the 2017 LGIA will be accepted until 4 p.m. Oct. 6. Award winners will be recognized at the LGIA Awards Celebration on Dec. 7. For more information, go to

In July, local and tribal governments throughout Minnesota received a formal invitation to participate in the 2020 Census Local Update of Census Addresses (LUCA) Program. The LUCA program provides state, local, and tribal governments with the opportunity to review and update the Census Bureau’s address list and formal boundaries. It is the only opportunity cities will get to ensure all housing units, roads and streets in their jurisdictions are accounted for prior to the 2020 Census.

In March 2020, the United States Census Bureau will mail the 2020 Census form to each housing unit for which they have an address. Since the Census is mailed to addresses, not people, Census 2020 results will only be accurate if the Census Bureau has a correct record.

The Minnesota Department of Administration’s State Demographic Center is Minnesota’s liaison with the Census Bureau. State Demographer Susan Brower stresses the importance of LUCA participation for local governments by pointing out that funding for many federal programs is based on population — a local jurisdiction stands to lose funding if every person isn’t counted. Even one missed person could mean as much as $1,530 in lost federal funding each year for programs in areas such as health, transportation, housing and education.

Some jurisdictions may lack the resources to do the LUCA review. In that case, they may arrange with a higher level of government, such as a county, to perform the review. Still, it is important for cities to review and send in their LUCA reservation materials to ensure that their area gets covered.

The deadline to register online to participate is Dec. 15, 2017. Address review materials will be mailed to registered participants in February 2018. Questions about the LUCA Program may be directed to the Chicago Regional Office of the U.S. Census Bureau at 844-344-0169 or via e-mail at or at the Census Bureau website. You may also contact the State Demography Center at 651-201-2770 or

To understand whether your city currently qualifies for grants, click on your city below. Note: Only purple and red areas qualify. Red areas are “unserved,” purple areas are “underserved,” and green areas do not qualify.

Tuesday morning will see the first significant discussion of LGA as the Senate Tax Committee takes up a host of bills on the topic. Most significantly, the committee is hearing SF 476, the CGMC-sponsored bill to increase the LGA appropriation by $45.5 million to get back to the 2002 level. We are very grateful to Sen. Bill Weber (R-Luverne), the bill’s chief author, and the other co-authors for their support. Our members are encouraged to contact the bill authors and co-authors (in both the House and Senate) to thank them for championing LGA this session. The full list of authors, as well as a link that members can use to email them all at once, is available here.

No action is expected to be taken on the bill at the committee meeting. It will be given a hearing and then “laid over” for possible inclusion in the Senate’s tax omnibus bill. The Senate is also hearing a series of bills intended to fix a couple of LGA formula glitches, including CGMC-supported SF 813, authored by Sen. Julie Rosen (R-Vernon Center).

The legislative session started Tuesday, and it already appears that not much has changed since the legislature closed out its business after the special session last June. Efforts to fast-track an extension of unemployment benefits failed as the DFL legislators advocated for a “clean bill” that dealt only with the benefits extension, while Republican lawmakers insisted that the benefits extension be linked to a significant reduction in unemployment taxes for businesses.

On Wednesday night, Gov. Dayton gave his annual State of the State address at the University of Minnesota. He sounded largely familiar themes: support for modest spending and perhaps some modest tax cuts, the need for a robust bonding bill focused on clean water initiatives, support for the child care tax credit, and the need for a comprehensive transportation plan.

Republicans were skeptical that even modest spending increases would be appropriate, while at the same time pushing for much more aggressive tax cuts — a move that Governor Dayton claimed would put the state budget on a “fiscal precipice.”

The Dayton Administration appears very serious about protecting what they see as the gains made in stabilizing the state’s fiscal situation. The extent to which House Republicans insist on deep tax cuts versus how far the Governor and Senate Democrats feel they can go will likely be the defining tension of the session.

We’ve been saying for some time that the 2016 legislative session will be fast and furious. As we get closer to the March 8 start date, the calendar is coming into focus as legislative leaders set committee deadlines. While generally considered “inside baseball,” committee deadlines do give a hint to the overall pace of work and intentions of legislative leaders. This year’s committee deadlines can charitably be described as “aggressive.”

The first committee deadline is April 1, a mere three weeks after the start of session. This means that all bills need to receive a hearing in either a House or Senate committee before that date to continue to be considered. The second deadline is just a week after that on April 8; bills that met the first deadline must have a hearing in the opposite chamber by this date. The third deadline is April 21. By this date, any finance and budget bills need to pass the Senate Finance Committee and House Ways and Means Committees, respectively, and be on the way to the Senate or House floors for action by the full chambers. By this time, each side will have staked out their negotiating positions on any supplemental budget.

What makes this year unusual, however, is that the tax and transportation bills are already in conference committee as a result of last year’s failure to take action on these two items, which means that most of the money on the table is already in play. It is unlikely that the House and Senate will pass new tax and transportation bills, but rather will continue to work off the bills that made it to conference committee last year.

Add on top of this compressed timeline planned legislative breaks around Easter in late March and Passover in late April, and the fact that the Legislature likely won’t work most Fridays, and there is an especially limited time to transact business at the Capitol this session. It is possible that legislative committees may hold hearings before session starts, but other than the bonding committee tours over the last couple of months, there are no indications of much of this kind of activity.

The bottom line is that legislative proposals will need to be refined and lobbying started immediately to have a chance of success in 2016.

The CGMC Summer Conference has  begun! More than 75 mayors, city councilors and city staff members from across Greater Minnesota are currently taking part in the three-day event in Duluth. It started this afternoon with a legislative re-cap led by CGMC staff members and tours of the Duluth Seaway Port Authority and AAR Aircraft Maintenance facility. Tonight, attendees will enjoy a dinner at Greysolon sponsored by the city of Duluth followed by a brewery tour/pub crawl led by Mayor Don Ness. Click here for the full conference agenda.

Even though the work at the Capitol will be on pause from March 30-April 6 for its Easter/Passover vacation, it doesn’t mean that the CGMC is taking a break. As we always do over the Easter break, we are asking cities to meet with their legislators next week to press for support for CGMC priorities (an action alert with details was sent to mayors and city administrators/managers earlier this afternoon). Additionally, staff from Flaherty & Hood is setting up meetings with some cities and their legislators and also planning visits to newspapers around the state.

If you have any questions about setting up meeting with your legislators or what issues to discuss, please contact Bradley Peterson at

Minnesota’s legislative session started this week with the usual pomp and circumstance of swearing in the newly elected and re-elected members of the House of Representatives. It is always a fun day filled with family and optimism for the session. Though the session has begun, the real work will start next week as committees begin to meet and get briefed on the issues they need to confront over the next five months.

CGMC staff has had a busy week of finalizing bill drafts on LGA, workforce housing, job training and the environment, among other issues. Lobbying of new members and committee chairs began this week as well.

As the session gets underway, be sure to check back at this website and the CGMC Twitter feed for updates.