The prospect of legalizing silencers and removing disclosure to bring a firearm onto state Capitol grounds is heating up gun debate in Minnesota again. Gun rights advocates and gun control backers packed into a hearing room Thursday to testify on measures to expand firearm laws.
Gov. Mark Dayton says majority House Republicans are getting a “free ride” when it comes to the state’s budget planning. Speaker Kurt Daudt says the House GOP will devote at least half of the state’s $1.8 billion surplus to tax relief while also boosting spending for education and nursing homes. Other Republicans have called to return the entire surplus to taxpayers.
Call it Gun Day at the Minnesota Legislature. A House panel is planning to discuss a handful of firearm-related proposals Thursday.
Minnesota legislators want to set up an online service to link young businesses with capital. MNvest would work like the crowdfunding website Kickstarter. But instead of getting a CD or T-shirt for donating to a project, investors would own a piece of the company they support.
Minnesota’s bank account is projected to run up a $1.87 billion surplus over the next two years, which will drive calls for new spending, tax cuts or most likely a mix. The Department of Minnesota Management and Budget provided the figure Friday in an updated economic forecast that shows stronger-than-expected growth projections, rising worker wages and surging consumer confidence.
The budget-setting preseason at Minnesota’s Capitol is about to give way to the session’s full-blown debate, helped along by an economic forecast that guides tax-and-spending parameters. Friday’s release of the comprehensive report will determine whether Gov. Mark Dayton and the Legislature still have a projected $1 billion surplus at their disposal — or if it’s gone up or down since the last look in December.
Behind a bill to add a scant three lines to Minnesota’s hunting laws is a story of an aging man. George Krog served in the military, first in Cuba and then in the Philippines. He made a career out of working with steel, retired, paid his taxes and bought a deer hunting license every year. Now 84, Krog is afraid he won’t get a shot at a buck again.
As lawmakers are trying to make changes to the state’s lottery, Gov. Mark Dayton is celebrating it. At a news conference Friday morning, the Governor said the lottery has generated $2.4 billion for public projects since its inception 25 years ago.
A Minnesota state senator resigned Friday from an outside job leading a municipal association that lobbies at the Capitol, despite a ruling from ethics regulators that it wouldn’t constitute a conflict of interest.
New campaign reports are about to shed more light on the price of political power. Reports being made public Tuesday contain details on financial activity for candidates, parties and political groups involved in last year’s campaigns for Minnesota offices.
Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk is cranking up the pressure to pass a major transportation package this year. The Cook Democrat said Thursday he thinks the Legislature will punt until at least 2017 if lawmakers fail this session to pass new funding for roads and bridges.
Gov. Mark Dayton is holding up his focus on education in his new budget as an investment in Minnesota’s future. Schools and early learning programs make out well in the Dayton plan announced Tuesday.
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.