On more of Minnesota’s two-lane state highways, motorists could soon be free to drive above 55 — legally. As part of an expansive budget bill signed into law last week, state lawmakers nudged transportation officials to boost the speed limit to 60 miles per hour on lane miles where it can “reasonably and safely” be done.
Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie said Wednesday he will no longer issue cards that appeared to give lawmakers immunity from being arrested for drunken driving or other crimes during a legislative session, saying his office isn’t bound by statute to distribute them.
Minnesota lawmakers are gone from the Capitol after ending the 2014 session on Friday night. It was an unusually short and productive session. Included on the completed list is the bill to legalize medical marijuana, which became among the most publicly visible — and contentious — issues of the year.
There was something a little different going on at the State Capitol Tuesday: A major bill that everyone appears to agree on. It means a second round of tax cuts could be heading your way. State lawmakers already passed income tax relief on the way to hundreds of thousands of middle income Minnesotans. Now, homeowners and renters are getting a break.
Minnesota lawmakers face a shrinking pile of unfinished business as they sprint this week toward the end of the legislative session and the campaign season just beyond.
Minnesota lawmakers are running out of time to pass a bill that could protect citizens from snooping in their private data by public employees. The sticking point is how to do it without making it too difficult for state agencies to do their jobs.
Minnesota lawmakers are ready to deliver $100 million more in tax relief, including extra refunds and credits for homeowners, renters and farmers.
Dozens of firefighters from across Minnesota arrived at the State Capitol on Wednesday to talk about the importance of fire sprinklers. According to fire crews, a deadly fire last weekend could have been prevented if the home had fire sprinklers.
Leading lawmakers have announced how they will dispense with what remains of Minnesota’s $1.2 billion budget surplus, a framework that suggests the election-year legislative session is moving toward conclusion. The agreement released Friday by Democratic leaders would allow for $103 million more in tax breaks on top of the $447 million already enacted this year.
Top Minnesota lawmakers are working to set the terms of a deal on tax cuts, new state spending and borrowing for construction that would enable them to end their session. Democratic leaders of the House and Senate said Thursday that they were closing in on a framework.
Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson is advising the Legislature to forge ahead with a bill making clear that lawmakers can’t avoid arrest for drunken driving or other crimes during the months of session. But Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Ron Latz responded Thursday that he’s not convinced that a new law is required to resolve what he sees as a misunderstanding of current law.
Top Minnesota lawmakers are making a major push to expand high-speed internet to regions of the state that still don’t have it. Minnesota House Democrats are proposing big internet upgrades they say will improve rural schools and businesses.
Minnesota lawmakers haven’t had a pay hike since 1999. But they can boost their take-home pay with per diem — up to $76 per day in the Minnesota House, and up to $86 a day in the Minnesota Senate.
Lawmakers will be less than a month from the mandatory session finish line when they return to the Capitol after Easter, but don’t be surprised if they make an earlier break for it. Much of the heavy lifting of the election-year session is done. Negotiators from the House, Senate and Gov. Mark Dayton’s administration forecast more ease than usual buttoning up remaining tax and budget bills.
Minnesota lawmakers’ immunity to drunken driving arrests would end under a bill that passed a House committee on Friday, a day after the Senate’s version was tabled by lawmakers who see it as unnecessary. The archaic provision in the state constitution dates to 1858, when the state’s founding fathers wanted to protect legislators from being arrested and detained from votes on important measures.
An expensive office building for lawmakers at the Capitol is facing new scrutiny. The four-story glass, steel and stone complex would sit across the street from the Capitol, and include offices for 45 of Minnesota’s 67 state senators. But the cost and design are raising eyebrows, even from supporters like Gov. Mark Dayton, who called the project “overly lavish.”
The up-and-down medical marijuana bill at the Capitol may be down again. Top lawmakers in the House and Senate say it’s not likely to pass this year. Advocates of legalizing medical marijuana are hoping to make Minnesota the 20th state in the country to do so. Thursday, the advocates said it’s possible to pass it this year. But it’s not about medicine at this point at the Capitol; it’s about math.
Minnesota state lawmakers are trying to slow down a plan from the Department of Public Safety that would restrict public access to driver’s license data, including the bulk sale of data to insurance companies and car dealers. DPS officials say they made the change after thousands of snooping incidents into personal driver’s license records. But insurance industry executives, and Insurance Federation of Minnesota Vice President Mark Kulda, say it could add money to your insurance bill.
Minnesota lawmakers have a difficult job ahead. They must decide what to do about the Minnesota Sex Offender Program, now that a federal judge has ruled that it is broken and in need of repair.
As the boys state hockey tournament skates into the Xcel Energy Center, it’s another showdown in St. Paul that some high school athletes are fighting to win. Lawmakers are wondering if some students and their parents are going too far to gain a competitive edge.
A group of health experts and faith leaders were at the state capitol Monday to ask lawmakers to raise wages to improve the health of workers. Statistics show that low-income workers die eight-years earlier than other workers. Shaquonica Johnson, 37, has been a personal care attendant for 15 years. She works several different jobs at $8.50 an hour to care for her two children.
Minnesota Department of Administration officials estimate it would cost at least $2.4 million to rent temporary space for state senators and staff during the ongoing Capitol renovation.
Minnesota lawmakers have been told that a final decision on a new Senate Office Building must be made within weeks or a related renovation of the state Capitol will cost more and take longer.
Fears of prying from the sky have some Minnesota lawmakers seeking clamps on law enforcement’s use of unmanned aerial drones to gather evidence.
Students at Concordia University are attempting something not a lot of college students try to do. They’re going to the Minnesota Legislature to get some laws changed, including one controversial loophole for the lawmakers themselves.