Advocacy for Minnesota Technology Legislation

The Minnesota High Tech Association (MHTA) has a vested interest in Minnesota technology legislation. We strive to represent the technology community and educate legislators by advocating for public policy that strengthens Minnesota’s technology-based economy. Our goal is to position Minnesota as a global leader in science and technology through the development and use of advanced technologies.

Learn the ways MHTA is positively affecting science and technology legislation in Minnesota.

2020 Minnesota Legislative Session Updates


March 9, 2020: Angel Investment Tax Credit Program Update

Last year, $10 million was allocated for the Angel Investment Tax Credit Program (ATCP), effective for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2018 and before January 1, 2020; and taxable years beginning after December 31, 2020 and before January 1, 2022. That means no funding is available in 2020, and while MHTA is excited to have secured funding for 2019 and 2021, we have pursued solutions that would provide funding for the gap year.

The recent proposal in the Senate tax plan for 2020 includes that gap year funding for the ATCP, and MHTA has sent letters of support to the Senate and House leadership, as well as to the Governor, for that funding.

The ATCP has broad support from across a number of industries, many of which we represent, including agriculture, clean technology, high tech, and healthcare. Catalyzing over $450 million in investment to 430 Minnesota startups and emerging companies since its inception in 2010, The ATCP helps entrepreneurs from around the state access capital to start and grow their business here in Minnesota. With half of the program’s funding targeted toward minority-, women-, or veteran-owned businesses or those located in Greater Minnesota, the ATCP provides a benefit to the entire state.

March 4, 2020: STEM Advocacy Day

Community Engagement Director Jade Denson with students at STEM Advocacy Day.

The Minnesota Legislature has been in session for a little more than a month, and MHTA has been monitoring bills and relevant committees. Staff from the organization were on hand for STEM Advocacy Day on March 2, hosted by Senator Melissa Franzen. Youth robotics teams from schools across the state were in attendance. After a short program, the students demonstrated their robots. Representatives from SciMathMN, FIRST Robotics, and High Tech Kids participated in the program and will be provided information about various STEM programs throughout the afternoon.

In the coming weeks, staff will continue to be present for events and hearings on behalf of our members, and CEO Jeff Tollefson will be reaching out to elected officials to discuss the necessity for smart technology policy.

2020 Minnesota Legislative Session Details


State government in Minnesota had a new look in 2019 following elections in 2018. The 2019 Legislative Session featured one of the only divided legislatures in the country as Democrats took control of the House and Republicans maintained a majority in the Senate. Tim Walz was sworn in as the 41st Governor of Minnesota following Mark Dayton’s 8 years of service. Despite the potential for a divisive session, 2019 saw a budget bill passed and signed by Governor Walz with a number of wins for Minnesota’s technology community (see below).

The 2020 Minnesota Legislature will likely not see much action. The state has a balanced budget and no crises to address, and with elections on the horizon in November there will likely be no supplemental spending bill or other major legislation. The major focus for many legislators will be to negotiate elements of the bonding bill.

This session, the Minnesota High Tech Association is supporting a few bonding initiatives and will continue our work by speaking for the technology community and educating legislators. We will advocate for public policy that strengthens Minnesota’s technology-based economy and positions Minnesota as a global leader through the development and use of advanced technologies.

MHTA’s Public Policy committee passed its 2020 Legislative Agenda with those tenets in mind, and believes that strong, consistent, focused leadership from the private sector, working in collaboration with academic, nonprofit and government partners, is the critical link in driving our state’s development and recognition as a global technology leader.

As the 2020 session develops, we want to keep you up to date on the work of MHTA staff and partners at the Capitol, and flag important items as they come up. MHTA will advocate for policies that strengthen Minnesota’s science and technology workforce, as well as those that leverage technology to increase government efficiency and improve and sustain Minnesota’s infrastructure.

MHTA will sponsor, support and/or respond to legislation that furthers these principles. Additionally, MHTA will respond to issues and potential legislation that affect member companies and technology businesses in Minnesota as they arise.

2019 Minnesota Legislative Session Results


As one of the only divided legislatures in the country, legislative leaders and Governor Walz worked through a series of negotiations to forge compromises on a host of issues. Leaders came to an agreement on the state budget for the next two years, and a special session was called to pass the agreed upon bills. There are a number of tech issues that were included in the final agreement:

Omnibus Jobs Bill: (view bill)

  • SciTechsperience—lines 18.22-19.9 SciTech was funded at $1.75 million over the next biennium. This long-standing successful program remains in place to serve STEM employers and students alike. Funding at this level will help connect 400 STEM students with paid internships at small businesses across Minnesota.
  • Minnesota Innovation Collaborative (renamed Launch Minnesota)—lines 50.7-56.10 The Minnesota Innovation Collaborative, an initiative designed to support a series of programs designed to accelerate the growth of startups and innovative companies, was renamed Launch Minnesota and funded at $5 million over the next biennium. A state matching grant program at $50,000 per recipient per biennium for Phase 2 SBIR/STTR recipients is included (lines 54.18-54.24) as part of the innovation grant programs.

Omnibus Agriculture, Rural Development and Housing Bill: (view bill)

  • Border-to-Border Broadband Development Grant Program—line 145 The Border-to-Border Broadband Development Grant Program is designed to provide state resources that help make the financial case for new and existing providers to invest in building broadband infrastructure into unserved and underserved areas of the state. The program is funded at $20 million/year for the next two years. This is the first time that the program has received biennial funding.

Omnibus Tax Bill: (view bill | view bill details)

  • Angel Tax Credit program— lines 57.13- 68.22. $10 million has been allocated for the Angel Investment Tax Credit Program. This program is effective for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2018 and before January 1, 2020; and taxable years beginning after December 31, 2020 and before January 1, 2022. While no funding is available in 2020, MHTA is excited to have secured funding for 2019 and 2021. There were some other changes, such as including veteran-owned businesses in the category of targeted businesses (women, minority-owned, and greater MN businesses). The investment threshold was also lowered to $7,500 for these targeted businesses.
  • Data Center Sales Tax Exemption— lines 226.3- 228.26. The Data Center Sales Tax Exemption, which provides incentives for companies to build data or network operation centers in Minnesota, saw no changes this session after being under threat from the Department of Revenue.

MHTA will continue to educate legislators and advocate for policies that will strengthen Minnesota’s science and technology ecosystem. The legislature has adjourned until noon on Tuesday, February 11. 2020.