Minnesota House OKs bill creating health insurance exchange (Pioneer Press)
“The House early this morning voted largely along party lines to support legislation creating the new marketplace. House Republicans were unanimous in voting against compromise legislation crafted this week by a conference committee.”
Background checks bill passes Senate committee test (Star Tribune)
“DFLers on a Senate committee gave a go-ahead to universal background checks for gun sales Thursday night. A companion bill is to be heard next week in the House Public Safety Finance and Policy Committee, where its chances are in doubt.”
Gov. Dayton’s revised plan is dramatically scaled back from his January proposal but still erases a projected budget deficit and spends more money on schools and economic development.
Dayton: Higher tobacco tax is about health, not revenue (MPR News)
“Gov. Dayton says the tax increase on top earners in his revised budget plan is about fairness. But his proposal to raise the current tobacco tax of $1.23 per pack by an additional 94 cents will disproportionately hit Minnesotans of modest means.”
“The House Elections Committee backed a bill that includes no-excuse absentee voting, higher thresholds for triggering taxpayer-funded recounts, tighter controls over felon voting rights and a reduction in Election Day vouching.”
“If the Legislature passes the bill, Minnesota would join 12 other states in offering in-state tuition to eligible undocumented immigrants. The bill would also allow them to apply for state grants and private scholarships.”
“The bill’s sponsor said she thinks it’s irresponsible to hunt wolves so quickly after the animal was removed from the endangered species list. Hunt advocates say hunting wolves will help manage the population.”
White Earth will be the first reservation in the country to get shared jurisdiction. It means tribal, state and federal authorities will now share responsibility for investigating and prosecuting crimes, starting June 1.
Lawmakers cautiously eye tax reform (Washington Post)
Obama seeks $2 billion in research on cleaner fuels (New York Times)
Franken and Klobuchar vote for assault weapons ban
In a 10-8 party line vote with both of Minnesota’s Democratic senators voting with the majority, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee approved the final elements of the most broad-ranging gun control proposals to receive congressional attention in nearly 20 years.
The bill approved on Thursday includes a ban on many assault-style weapons and would also limit ammunition magazines for semiautomatic weapons to 10 rounds.
“I think that what we’ve seen in these mass murders of late is the use of these assault weapons, and I think that this will save lives,” said DFL U.S. Sen. Al Franken after the vote. — Brett Neely