From children’s mental health grants for schools to a proposal requiring a radon test when selling a home, dozens of bills get a deep look today in Capitol committees as legislative deadlines draw closer.
Dueling gun bills create rift in Minnesota House (MPR News)
“The chief sponsor of a bill that would require universal background checks for gun buyers is not backing down, despite signs the measure doesn’t have enough support to pass the House or his committee.”
Poll finds majority against bill allowing gay marriage (Star Tribune)
“Fifty-three percent of Minnesotans say the state statute banning same-sex unions should stand. Only 38 percent say legislators should overturn the law this year, the Star Tribune Minnesota Poll has found.”
True cost of Mayo’s DMC project could be $1 billion for state (Rochester Post-Bulletin)
“The state would be on the hook for far more than the $585 million in public dollars Mayo Clinic is seeking in its Destination Medical Center proposal. It may cost the state more than $1 billion over 30 years to cover the cost of bonds and interest.”
DFL leaders eye gas tax hike, other transportation taxes (Associated Press)
“Democratic lawmakers who lead House transportation panels are seeking a menu of transportation tax and fee hikes including a five-cent increase in the state gas tax.”
Lawmakers consider rate-based solar power incentives (Star Tribune)
“Minnesota legislative leaders and Gov. Mark Dayton are proposing sweeping changes in state incentives for solar power, hoping to significantly increase the amount of electricity generated from the sun.”
Dayton says tax plan intended to force businesses to pay fair share (MPR News)
“Gov. Dayton’s proposal would increase sales tax collections by nearly $2.1 billion. The governor insists average Minnesotans would not be stuck with the bill, but many people are skeptical.”
Minnesota has nearly recouped the 160,000 jobs lost in the Great Recession. But African-American and teenage unemployment remain at troubling levels and one of three jobless Minnesotans has been searching for work for 6 months or longer.
Lawmakers consider bill on EpiPen use in schools (KSTP)
“Right now, school nurses are allowed to stock epinephrine for students with prescriptions from a doctor. The bill would let any student that needs an EpiPen to be treated with one at school.”
Minnesota police, fire pension fund lifeline gets a closer look (Pioneer Press)
“Opponents of an insurance surcharge to fund police and fire pensions told state lawmakers the proposal is particularly unfair to low-income Minnesotans and follows huge increases in homeowners insurance.”
Jeb Bush back in spotlight, thinking about 2016 (Washington Post)
Trying to revive talks, Obama goes around GOP leaders (New York Times)
CIA nominee clears hurdle after release of drone data (New York Times)
Hearing on same-sex marriage bill slated for next week
Rep. John Lesch, DFL-St. Paul, who chairs the House Civil Law Committee, said he intends to hold a hearing next Tuesday or Wednesday.
Lesch said he expects the hearing to be extended into the evening to ensure that the public has ample opportunity to testify.
The legislation has received plenty of media scrutiny, but Lesch said he doesn’t expect any fireworks because the issue received plenty of attention during the last election year. — Tom Scheck