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.
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.
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.
With just three weeks left in this year’s session, the Senate Health and Human Services Committee passed a new version of the bill that includes a state study on how medical marijuana availability would impact Minnesota.
Gov. Mark Dayton has circled a date on his April calendar to deliver a State of the State speech to a joint session of the Minnesota Legislature. Dayton said Wednesday that he’s prepared to give the address on April 23.
Legislative Republicans pressed Monday for a speedy resolution to a controversy over a proposed Senate office building, making clear they oppose its construction. Several GOP lawmakers said the state should make do with the space it has, and reconfigure Capitol renovation plans if necessary.
Barely a week into the legislative session, a $500 million package of tax cuts and repeals is being put to a vote in the Minnesota House. The Legislature is racing to undo some business sales taxes adopted last year, including one on warehousing services that will kick in April 1.
Legislation giving military veterans a legal right to Veterans Day off from work is advancing in the Minnesota Legislature. The bill cleared a state House committee on Wednesday and was also getting consideration in the Senate.
Gov. Mark Dayton’s administration is laying out a list of ideas for pruning Minnesota’s statute of duplicative, outdated or problematic laws. The so-called “unsession” agenda is likely to touch most areas of state government. Three Dayton commissioners were planning to roll it out Tuesday.
Minnesota lawmakers who saw colleagues put several hot-button political issues on the statewide ballot in 2012 are now mulling proposals that would make it harder to do that again.
Republican leaders in the Minnesota Legislature say the $1.2 billion budget surplus is no cause for celebration because it shows state government overtaxes its citizens. Republicans unveiled their response Friday to news of the enhanced surplus: “Give it back.”
Make no waves. That’s a guiding principle for the Democrats in charge of Minnesota’s Legislature, which gathers Tuesday for an annual session that could extend into mid-May. Party leaders are eager to prevent, or at least contain, controversy that can leave a bad taste for voters or alienate important constituencies in a year when the Democratic House majority and Gov. Mark Dayton’s re-election are on the line.
Democrats who lead the Minnesota Legislature left no doubt Wednesday that a minimum wage increase of some kind will prevail in the upcoming session.
A coalition of transportation, business and labor interests proposes a new 5-percent sales tax on fuel in Minnesota to help raise money for new transportation projects. The $750-million-a year roads and transit plan from the group calling itself Move MN is being unveiled Tuesday at a legislative hearing.
Some of Minnesota’s well-known mayors, including the mayors of Minneapolis and St. Paul, are putting their weight behind an effort to pass Minnesota’s first minimum wage hike in 8 years.
Minnesota funeral homes could soon face new requirements when it comes to sharing pricing information. A bill the Legislature will consider this year would compel funeral providers to post their prices on the Internet if they already maintain a Web site.
Forget the return of deep snow and cold temperatures. The forecast Minnesota’s political class is watching this week has to do with the state budget.
The Minnesota Vikings have broken ground on their new stadium. Team owners and officials were joined by hundreds of local politicians, business leaders and purple-clad fans Tuesday morning to commemorate the start of construction on the billion-dollar project.
A state security panel backed the idea of more regular permit checks for gun owners who want to carry weapons in the State Capitol, but fell short of votes Tuesday on a proposal to ban guns altogether in certain state government buildings or areas.
A Minnesota legislator who has taken a visible role in public safety and gun issues says he won’t run for a 10th term in the 2014 election. State Rep. Michael Paymar announced Wednesday he will leave the Legislature after his current term expires.
There is so little oversight of a state program that has spent $44 million promoting sustainable forestry on private land that lawmakers should make significant changes to it or scrap it altogether, Minnesota’s legislative auditor said Tuesday.
A Minnesota legislative panel formed to keep tabs on the Vikings stadium deal is meeting to go over a recently signed lease and the development agreement. The Legislative Commission on Minnesota Sports Facilities lacks power to alter the agreements.