Minnesota House Of Representatives
The ambitious idea of Minnesota lawmakers skipping next year’s session to avoid the Capitol construction has morphed into an alternative plan. Now senior legislators and state officials are taking a hard look at moving the Legislature’s session off-site.
Gov. Mark Dayton blasted the new Republican Majority in the Minnesota House Friday for what he calls a “phony” transportation plan. Republicans yesterday unveiled a “no new taxes” plan to fix roads and bridges, but Dayton called it “fantasy.”
Minnesota lawmakers just got back to the Capitol, and now they’re leaving to study up on state issues. Demographers, economists and business executives are scheduled to address legislators at One Minnesota, an annual conference at the University of Minnesota that focuses on the top issues of the time.
Top Minnesota lawmakers have had early discussions about cramming more work into the next five months so they could skip a 2016 session amid a construction-ravaged Capitol. Senate Minority Leader David Hann raised the prospect Tuesday, and Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk hasn’t ruled it out. Bakk acknowledged having preliminary talks with House Speaker Kurt Daudt about that option.
The strike of a gavel Tuesday will start Minnesota’s Legislative session, a marathon of bills, amendments, debate and disagreements that will run into the spring. Here’s a taste of what may be brewing at the Capitol this year.
Republicans taking over the state House are forming committees that emphasize their rural/urban split with Democrats. The GOP reduced the number of committees overall even as it added new panels to focus on mining policy and jobs in greater Minnesota.
Democrats seeking to maintain control of Minnesota’s House of Representatives have a hefty cash advantage heading into Election Day. Fundraising reports Tuesday show House Democrats’ campaign arm has more than $1 million on hand.
The Hennepin County Sheriff’s Deputies Association has voted overwhelmingly in favor of incumbent Sheriff Rick Stanek’s opponent on Wednesday. Minneapolis Police Deputy Chief Eddie Frizell received 75 percent of the votes, while Stanek only received nine percent. Sixteen percent of votes were to endorse neither candidate.
The House has passed a $12 billion-plus infrastructure bill authorizing 34 water projects across the country. The bill passed on a 412-4 vote Tuesday after months of negotiations between key House members and senators in both parties.
Minnesota lawmakers have a deal on a medical marijuana bill that would set up eight distribution sites and allow qualified patients to access the drug in oil, pill and vapor form. The agreement announced Thursday was crafted to suit concerns of Gov. Mark Dayton, who backs it.
Gov. Mark Dayton says he’s still hopeful lawmakers can fashion a medical marijuana compromise that gets help to ailing people but doesn’t allow for access he fears would be too wide. Dayton said Monday that he has top aides working with legislators on a bill that can become law.
In a preview of the floor debate ahead, a Minnesota House committee has advanced a plan to have the state finance $1.1 billion in construction projects amid misgivings over priorities. The plan combines cash financing and borrowing.
Restrictions on cellphone tracking by law enforcers have won the unanimous support of the Minnesota House. By a 120-0 vote, House lawmakers passed a bill Friday that would require court orders before government agencies can access location information on devices.
Democratic House leaders say they have a new compromise proposal on medical marijuana that is unopposed by law enforcement. Their proposal would create a limited clinical trial for children and adults suffering from severe illnesses.
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.