The short week at the Minnesota Legislature means less time to complete work on some time-sensitive matters. Legislators were returning to St. Paul on Tuesday. By week’s end, they hope to send Gov. Mark Dayton a bill containing about $20 million in tax deductions and credits.
Minnesota lawmakers moved Tuesday to set up swift approval of tax deductions and credits affecting thousands of people and business owners getting ready to file 2014 forms. Tax committees in the House and Senate advanced legislation that lines Minnesota’s code up with some recent federal changes. Final votes in each chamber could come later this week, sending the bill to a supportive Gov. Mark Dayton before personal income tax filing season begins next week.
Minnesota’s state band rehearses in a basement cafeteria, stores its music in a hard-to-reach closet and can’t afford a marimba. But it could get some official appreciation if a pair of state House bills quietly introduced Thursday become law. A group of DFL lawmakers wants to throw the band $50,000 over the next two years and guarantee free rehearsal space.
Minnesota lawmakers dangled the possibility of free vocational college tuition, student-loan forgiveness in certain career fields and tax breaks for the agriculture, mining and timber industries as potential uses for a $1 billion projected surplus.
Free vocational college tuition for Minnesota high school graduates? Student-loan forgiveness for working in specialized fields or rural communities? Tax breaks for the mining and timber industries? A prohibition on performance bonuses for Minnesota health exchange executives?
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.
Existing emergency accounts are probably sufficient to cover state costs related to severe June flooding and avoid the need for a special session of the Minnesota Legislature. That message was delivered Tuesday by Gov. Mark Dayton’s administration.
Minnesota’s defense against future budget shortfalls is a bit sturdier. State finance officials said Tuesday they deposited $150 million more into Minnesota government’s main rainy-day account.
Gov. Mark Dayton has signed a trio of major bills that he says will help Minnesota’s economic growth. The governor was surrounded by legislative Democrats on Tuesday as he signed the tax, budget and construction project bills without a single line-item veto.
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.
Sensing an imminent finish to their legislative session, Minnesota lawmakers took stock Friday of accomplishments and potential campaign liabilities in a year marked by Democratic drives to boost the minimum wage and target school bullying as well as bipartisan efforts to legalize medical marijuana, fix public infrastructure and deliver tax cuts using surplus money.
Last-minute deals are coming together at Minnesota’s Capitol, which means final votes are closing in on $1 billion in construction authorization, a budget bill and tax cuts. The pace quickened Thursday as lawmakers faced a weekend deadline to complete their session.
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.
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.