The first bills of the Minnesota legislative session have been unveiled. Bill #1 is usually the signature bill for lawmakers and in the Senate this year, it’s a jobs bill. It would reduce business taxes and cut environmental regulations. In the House, House File 1 focuses on the environmental review process.
That bill will likely get most of the attention today, but some of the other ones filed also deserve mention:
Term limits: A Republican-sponsored bill would put the question of term limits on the ballot. If approved by voters, it would limit state representatives to 12 years in office and state senators to 16 years in office. This bill does not require the governor’s signature for the question to appear on the ballot.
A smaller Legislature: Senator Chuck Wiger, a DFLer, is proposing a reduction in the number of state senators and representatives.
Cutting dropouts: A bill from Sen. Wiger would raise the age at which kids can drop out of school from 16 to 18.
Health care for all: Sen. John Marty and several other DFL lawmakers are proposing a bill that requires health care be available for all Minnesotans who need it.
Two house bills (#4 and #5) call for a reduction in state workers and a freeze on their pay. On MPR’s Midday today, newly appointed Management and Budget Commissioner Jim Schowalter suggested that while the state has to manage its worker resources, their pay is not a significant way to reduce the state’s budget deficit: