A plan to construct a $77 million building to house Minnesota’s 67 state senators is moving forward after the Senate Rules Committee approved the proposal on Monday. The project matches one that the House Rules Committee approved Friday by a single vote. It would cost $13 million less than the original proposal the Senate Rules Committee approved earlier this year.
Top Democrats in the State House Friday approved a scaled-back version of a major new office building next to the Capitol, dedicated to the Minnesota Senate. The building’s original design had a soaring glass front, with a fitness center and reflecting pool. The scaled back version is slightly more modest, but no less controversial.
The Minnesota Senate passed a bill Thursday to prevent bullying in Minnesota schools. But even though lawmakers support the idea of the Safe and Supportive Schools Act, it is still among the most controversial bills of the year at the Capitol. Minnesota has been in the national spotlight because of a rash of students committing suicides because of bullying.
This legislative session has stalled out with battles over a proposed $90 million Senate office building and a proposed minimum wage increase. But the battle is not between Republicans and Democrats – it’s the Democrats who are fighting amongst themselves. With Democrats controlling the Minnesota House and Senate as well as the governor’s office, it’s the Democrats who are battling with each other over key issues.
Despite a collection of traditional adversaries aligning in opposition Friday, Democratic senators advanced a proposed ballot measure to let voters resolve a legislative deadlock over the minimum wage. A Senate jobs panel endorsed a constitutional amendment on a party-line vote over the objections of business, labor, faith and other advocacy groups. The measure would let voters decide if increases in the minimum wage should be automatically tied to inflation starting in 2017.
Five Republicans running for Minnesota governor are leaving no doubt they are united in their opposition to a planned Senate Office Building. The candidates held a joint news conference Thursday at the Capitol to showcase their distaste.
Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk says voters should decide whether Minnesota’s minimum wage climbs automatically. A constitutional amendment that he and another prominent senator put in play Thursday would ask voters this fall if they think the wage should be forever linked to inflation.
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.
Minnesota legislators planned quick and possibly final votes Thursday on a measure that would provide income tax breaks and repeal some controversial new business taxes. The Minnesota Senate prepared to debate a $434 million tax relief plan that also puts $150 million into a state budget reserve.
A tax relief measure put on a fast track in the Minnesota Senate on Wednesday could mean immediate breaks for at least 300,000 people. The Democratic-crafted proposal was unveiled a day after Gov. Mark Dayton implored lawmakers to speed up. The bill could get a floor vote as soon as Thursday.
A Minnesota Senate subcommittee on elections unanimously approved a bill Monday to reinforce a gift ban that was softened last year. The exception passed last spring allowed lawmakers to get lobbyist-purchased meals at receptions as long as all legislators were invited.
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.
The fast-track plan to provide $20 million in emergency heating assistance has been staged for a vote Monday in the Minnesota Senate. But a slight change by the Senate Finance Committee on Wednesday will likely to force another House vote on the measure too.
David FitzSimmons knew when he joined a very small group of legislative Republicans who voted for legal gay marriage in Minnesota that he might face political fallout on his conservative home turf. And he did.
A now-settled lawsuit filed by a fired staffer cost the Minnesota Senate $396,000 in legal defense fees on top of a severance award, a new tally based on a billing document made public Friday shows.