With a legislative deadline only two days away, House and Senate committees push forward today at the Capitol on dozens of bills. Lawmakers in both houses meet again this morning to reach a final compromise on legislation to create a state health insurance exchange.
Gov. Dayton’s newest budget proposal is still expected some time this week.
“Legislation to legalize same-sex marriage in Minnesota has survived two committees on party-line votes. The bills now head to the full House and Senate. The votes came after a full day of passionate public testimony from both sides of the issue.”
Dayton’s budget plan: What’s in? What’s out? (MPR News)
Here’s what to expect when Gov. Dayton updates his budget plan this week: The sales tax expansion is gone; Top earners will pay more in income taxes; Smokers will pay more; The property tax rebate is in trouble; Bonding bill will be $750 million.
The chair of a key legislative committee has deep concerns about a plan that relies on more than $500 million to help the Mayo Clinic expand in Rochester; she told supporters they should go back to the drawing table.”
“Frac sand mining in southeastern Minnesota was dealt a serious setback Tuesday night when the city of St. Charles adopted a resolution advocated by local foes of the industry.”
“The Senate Education Committee rejected a bill to repeal a state law passed last year requiring basic skills tests for would-be teachers. Critics say the test is flawed and results show big disparities when it comes to race and English language proficiency.”
“Adoption advocates say Minnesota has the second-lowest adoption rate from foster care in the nation partly because of a subsidy disparity: If you’re raising a foster child and want to adopt that child, the state will cut assistance payments to you by half. ”
Bill seeks to require crime lab accreditation (Pioneer Press)
“All of Minnesota’s crime labs would have to be accredited under a bill working through the Legislature. The proposal comes months after experts and crime lab workers testified on substandard work at the unaccredited St. Paul crime lab.”
N Mpls. groups speak out against gun bill (MPR News)
“Community and religious leaders from north Minneapolis say DFL Rep. Debra Hilstrom’s bill would hurt communities of color by creating mandatory minimum sentences for gun possession by those who shouldn’t have them.”
Dayton hints at $750M construction plan (MPR News)
“Gov. Dayton expects to release a plan next week that borrows $750 million for public works projects, including money to renovate the Capitol and Minneapolis Veterans Home and expand civic centers in Mankato, Rochester and St. Cloud.”
Outcry grows at Capitol over surge in domestic violence (Star Tribune)
“After a string of killings in the Twin Cities, hundreds showed up at the State Capitol to push for $3 million in funding to help end violence against women.”
Dayton will choose among three for Supreme Court vacancy (Star Tribune)
“Gov. Dayton will chose among three finalists — Appeals Court Judge Edward Cleary; Appeals Court Judge Natalie Hudson and former U.S. Attorney and litigator David Lillehaug.- to replace Justice Paul Anderson on the Minnesota Supreme Court.”
Lawmakers look to outlaw synthetic drug ‘look-alikes’ (KSTP)
“Rep. Erik Simonson, DFL-Duluth, wants to make it a crime to sell or possess synthetic drug ‘look-alikes.’ There are laws banning the chemical compounds they contain but makers are finding loopholes, creating new versions faster than states can expand their bans.”
Minn. lawmakers discuss text suicide hotline (Associated Press)
“The proposal would establish a prevention text line that people who need help can contact to get emergency contact information. It would also provide training in schools and communities about how to use the new program.”
Lawmakers hear junk food tax bill (MPR News)
“Minnesota’s tax on snack food would expand to include chips, pretzels, cookies and other prepackaged treats under a bill being heard Wednesday in the House Taxes Committee.”
President loses public trust on economy (Washington Post)
Paul Ryan’s claim that he balanced the budget ‘without raising taxes’ (Washington Post)
Klobuchar pushes same day voter registration
Minnesota has some of the highest voting turnout rates in the country (76 percent in 2012) and the state’s practice of allowing voters to register on Election Day often gets the credit for those numbers. Almost 18 percent of voters in the state registered on Election Day last year.
U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar hopes to take that practice nationwide and has introduced legislation with fellow Democrat Jon Tester of Montana that would require states to allow same day voter registration for all federal elections.
The move is part of a wider struggle between Democrats, who have backed making it easier to vote in order to encourage turnout among the young and minority voters who make up important parts of the party’s coalition, and Republicans who have increasingly sought to tighten voter registration rules and early voting in the past two years arguing that the voting system is susceptible to fraud. — Brett Neely