With three days of gun hearings over and no business scheduled, it’ll be a quiet day at the Capitol. Work picks up again Monday with lawmakers talking health exchanges, insurance fraud and University of Minnesota spending.
After a strong debut in some bars in September, the games aren’t drawing the hoped-for crowds. Now, calls for change are starting at the Capitol. Pull-tab money is supposed to help pay the public share of a new Vikings stadium.
In a first, Minn. asks Winona County to assess sand risk (Star Tribune)
“In a critical test of Minnesota’s approach to frac sand mining, two state agencies have called on Winona County to order an in-depth study of environmental and health risks associated with a cluster of proposed mines and processing sites.”
Senate backs state employee contracts (MPR News)
Contracts give 35,000 state employees a 2 percent pay hike. Republicans tried but failed to require state employees to pay something for their health insurance coverage. GOP lawmakers say the contracts are too expensive.
Panel talks body armor, danger of gun violence for children (Star Tribune)
Some lawmakers want to “limit civilian ownership of bulletproof vests and other items of body armor to those obtaining permits. Opponents say the armor is used for defensive reasons only and should not be prohibited for civilian use.”
“The proposed $1.60 increase is considerably more than the $.94 a pack tax hike proposed by Gov. Mark Dayton.”
Senate confirms a batch of commissioners (MPR News)
Senate gives commissioners blessing to continue running departments, including Charles Zelle, Transportation; Lucinda Jesson, Human Services; Ed Ehlinger, Health; Myron Frans, Revenue; Brenda Cassellius, Education.
Businesses line up to fight Dayton’s sales tax proposal (Star Tribune)
“Gov. Dayton’s plan to tax business services, they say, would drive business away, raise prices and fail to generate as much as projected.”
Bishops reject birth control compromise (New York Times)
Lawmakers struggle with plan to end Saturday mail delivery (Washington Post)
State Patrol: Brodkorb over the legal limit
Tests show former Minnesota Senate staffer and Republican Party official Michael Brodkorb was over the legal blood alcohol limit when he crashed his SUV last month.
The Minnesota State Patrol said Brodkorb’s alcohol concentration was 0.10 percent, which is over the legal limit for impairment of 0.08 percent.
An aide to former GOP Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch, Brodkorb was fired in 2011 after Koch was confronted about having an affair with him. He’s suing the Minnesota Senate for wrongful termination.
Brodkorb declined comment on the state patrol statement. — Tom Scheck