Minnesota’s budget takes center stage today as House Democrats are expected to release their spending targets for the next two-year budget.
The House Public Safety and Finance Committee takes up legislation to expand background checks to nearly all gun sales.
Dayton, lawmakers likely to differ on plans to pay back schools (MPR News)
“Dayton’s budget plan does not fully pay back what’s left of a $2.4 billion K-12 payment delay used earlier to help balance the state budget. Democrats campaigned on paying back the school shift and they also plan to increase funding for education.”
“Historic and controversial legislation creating a new way for a fifth of Minnesota’s population to obtain health insurance is now on its way to Gov. Dayton’s desk. And he has promised to sign it. ”
Put Bachmann on the non-answer list to the U.S. Senate question (Star Tribune)
“Rep. Michele Bachmann joins GOP House Reps. John Kline and Erik Paulsen in giving no definitive answer to whether they will run against Democratic U.S. Sen. Al Franken next year.”
“The Minnesota Gambling Control board gave the green light to electronic bingo in Minnesota Monday, adding to the expanded charitable gambling slated to pay for the state’s share of the $1 billion Vikings stadium.”
“Minnesota lawmakers are considering beefing up the state’s anti-bullying law, and for the most part, school administrators applaud the effort. But as with so many pieces of legislation, there’s concern over the cost.”
Federal cuts already hitting Minnesota’s reservation schools (Star Tribune)
“Schools on Minnesota’s American Indian reservations are already suffering from the across-the-board budget cuts of the federal sequester, taking a hit months before the rest of the country’s classrooms will feel the effects of reduced funding.”
Minnesota lawmakers eye licenses for illegal immigrants (Associated Press)
“A Senate panel passed a bill on Monday that would let illegal immigrants get a Minnesota driver’s license, the most recent development in a push at the Capitol to train and ensure more drivers who aren’t U.S. citizens.”
Seeking help with future growth, Rochester already feels strain of expansion (MPR News)
“As the Mayo Clinic makes expansion plans and asks for state help to build infrastructure in Minnesota’s third largest city, Rochester is feeling financial strain from the rapid growth it has already seen.”
Bipartisan anti-drone bill introduced in the Minnesota House (Star Tribune)
“The legislation would prohibit law enforcement from using drones to gather evidence in an investigation. Federal agencies would not be allowed to use drones at all within Minnesota’s borders.”
Bill would retool local aid formula (MPR News)
“The bill’s author said it would make Local Government Aid (LGA) more predictable from year to year by factoring in inflation. The plan is supported by leaders in the Twin Cities metropolitan area and in rural Minnesota.”
“Under the Senate Transportation and Public Safety Committee plan, the Minnesota Historical Society would get the first chance to claim pieces, followed by survivors, transportation agencies and college engineering programs.”
“A bipartisan group of three dozen lawmakers, local elected officials and business folks, came to the Minnesota Capitol to offer support for about $400 million worth of improvements to I-94 and Minnesota Highway 10.”
Poll: Support for same-sex marriage at high (Washington Post)
Bachmann’s claim that 70 percent of food stamps go to ‘bureaucrats’ (Washington Post)
Justices appear divided on Arizona voting law (New York Times)
Dayton budget plan higher for Higher Ed than House?
As you read above, one area that House Democrats are likely to disagree with Gov. Dayton on the budget is paying back a portion of the K-12 school shift.
Another area appears to be in higher education. During committee yesterday, House Higher Ed Chair Gene Pelowski, DFL-Winona, suggested House Democrats would not spend as much as Gov. Dayton.
“We’ll be significantly better but it won’t be as good as the governor’s [plan],” Pelowski said during the hearing.
House Democrats are set to announce their spending targets at 1 p.m. today. Senate Democrats are expected to release their spending targets on Wednesday. — Tom Scheck