MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minnesota House of Representatives’ annual Minnesota State Fair poll explored how Minnesotans feel about a number of issues at the State Capitol.
Released by Session Daily Tuesday, the unscientific, nonpartisan poll examined respondents’ views on policy issues that were prominent last legislative session and that will likely come up again in future sessions.
Driver’s Licenses for All
The poll consisted of 12 questions. The first asked respondents whether individuals seeking a Minnesota driver’s license should be required to prove citizenship or legal status in the county. Around 42% of those polled responded yes, around half responded no and around 7% were undecided. Last session, the DFL-controlled House passed legislation that would eliminate the proof of citizenship or status requirement, but the legislation died in the Republican-controlled Senate.
School Start Dates
Minnesota statute requires school districts not start classes before Labor day. Last session, lawmakers in both the House and Senate introduced a bill to change that. The bill did not pass, but 41% of respondents agreed that the current statue be repealed. Around 42% disagreed, while around 16% were undecided.
Among the issues included in the poll, background checks for all gun sales in Minnesota saw the widest support. Eighty-nine percent of respondents agreed that criminal background checks be required for all gun sales, including private transactions and those at gun shows. Just 9% of respondents disagreed, while 2% were undecided. A bill requiring criminal background checks on such sales were left out of final policy negotiations last session after Senate Republicans pushed back against the legislation.
Private School Scholarship Tax Credits
Republicans in the House and Senate introduced legislation last session that would establish a tax credit for those making donations to fund scholarships for students at K-12 private schools. While the bill did not see a final vote, 36% of respondents supported the policy, around 52% opposed it and around 11% were undecided.
Required High School Personal Finance Classes
The poll showed majority support for legislation introduced last session that would have required Minnesota high school students to take a personal finance class. Around 70% of respondents supported the requirement, almost 19% opposed it and 11% were undecided.
Proposed abortion restrictions have proved contentious across the country. Republicans in both chambers introduced legislation last session that would have banned abortions past 20 weeks of pregnancy, though the bills never passed. Almost 30% of respondents support such a restriction, while around 61% opposed it and around 8% were undecided.
While the Republican-controlled Senate killed legislation that would legalize the recreational sale and consumption marjiuana in Minnesota, Gov. Tim Walz is continuing to pursue the possibility. Walz recently announced that he would order state departments to prepare for eventual legalization. Around 56% of respondents supported legalization, around 33% opposed it and almost 10% were undecided.
Sales Tax to Fund Transit
A bill that would have increased sales tax in the seven-county metro area to support transit did not make it into the final House transportation bill. Still, around 65% of respondents supported it compared to around 26% who were opposed and around 7% who were undecided.
Paid Family Leave
Despite support among House Democrats, legislation to provide 12 weeks of paid family leave to Minnesota workers ultimately failed last session. Still, around 53% of respondents supported paid leave, with around 31% opposed and 15% undecided.
Felon Voting Rights
A House bill would have automatically restored voting rights for felons once their prison term has ended, though it eventually died in final negotiations. Around 60% of respondents backed the measure, while around 32% opposed it and around 7% were undecided.
A bill that would ban the controversial practice of conversion therapy for gay children and “vulnerable adults” brought out testimonials in support and against such a ban. While the policy did not pass last session, around 74% of respondents supported the ban, with around 16% opposed and around 8% undecided.
Cursive Requirement in Schools
House and Senate education committees did not agree on a bill that would have required cursive handwriting in elementary school curriculums last session. Still, around 55 percent of those polled agreed cursive education should be mandatory, compared to around 28 percent of respondents who disagreed and around 16 percent who were undecided.