2020 Minnesota legislative recap

The 2020 Minnesota Regular Legislative Session adjourned at midnight on Sunday, May 17th, having passed just over fifty bills, but many significant legislative issues were left unresolved.

Unfortunately, many important pieces of legislation had to be put on hold mid-session as attention shifted to more time sensitive COVID-19 related legislation.

The single energy-related piece of legislation that passed during the 2020 session was Chapter 105, which adds the promotion of LEDs to the efficient lighting program.

Several other energy bills were introduced, but with no final action taken. However, they may be the basis for new legislation in a likely Special Session this summer or in the 2021 session.

The Energy Conservation and Optimization Act of 2020, SF 4409, was of particular interest to Heartland customers as it would have significantly improved the state’s Conservation Improvement Program.

The bill had broad support but there was some push back from various industry groups and some legislators had concerns about passing any non-COVID-19 related legislation. While the bill did not have any final action taken, we are hopeful it will be considered again in the near future.

The bill would have allowed flexible plans of 1, 2 or 3 years, allowing long-term planning to achieve savings goals. It would have removed the mandatory 1.5% spending requirement, made new and emerging technologies eligible for energy savings credit and expanded options for helping low-income households.

SF 4009 would offer flexibility for utilities while keeping costs down.

Overall, the 2020 legislative session in Minnesota saw a great shift to time sensitive COVID-19 legislation, political disagreements about the best way for the state to respond to COVID-19 and a rapid transformation of a state budget surplus into a budget deficit.

Heartland will continue to follow energy-related issues in Minnesota in any Special Sessions that may occur and into the 2021 session.