It’s House File No. 1 in the first slew of the hundreds — thousands — of bills that will be filed in the two-year session of the Minnesota Legislature. The first bill is intended to be declaration of priorities for the majority.
But there were 80 bills filed today. Here are some of the other more interesting ones:
STUDENT LOAN RELIEF
HF8 provides a tax credit of up to $2,000 for student loan payments. The credit represents one half of the loan payments in excess of 10 percent of adjusted gross income. If the amount of the credit exceeds the income tax owed, the student would get the remainder of the credit back from the state.
A TAX BREAK FOR SOCIAL SECURITY
Only six states apply a tax to Social Security. Minnesota is one of them although there is no income tax for the first $32,000 of benefits for a married couple or $25,000 for a single filer.
HF9 would allow 20 percent of Social Security income to be deducted from federal taxable income (the figure on which Minnesota state income taxes are based) starting next year. That would increase 20 percent each year until 100% of Social Security income is non taxable in Minnesota.
A BREAK FOR DISABLED VETS
HF17 would exempt disabled veterans from paying auto registration fees and taxes.
RELIGION IN SCHOOL
HF23, called the Religious Liberties Act of 2017, would protect student expression of religion in homework, artwork, class assignments. It also would allow students at public forums, such as graduations, to speak on religious beliefs as long as there is a disclaimer that the speech does not constitute an endorsement from a school district.
DRUG TESTING FOR PUBLIC ASSISTANCE
HF28 would ban anyone with two or more DWI convictions within five years from receiving public assistance benefits. It also requires drug testing for benefit applicants “who the department has reasonable suspicion to believe, based on screening, engages in illegal use of a controlled substance.”
HF30 would allow Sunday sales of liquor in Minnesota, an issue which has been derailed over the years by representatives of the beverage industry.
THE BATHROOM/LOCKER ROOM
HF41 revisits a 2016 debate over accomodations provided to transgender students. It would require public school restrooms, locker rooms, changing rooms, and shower rooms to be used only by students of the male sex only or by students of the female sex only. Gender is defined by their “physical condition” at birth.
END OF THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE
HF42, which seems to be somewhat bipartian, would include Minnesota in the number of states holding popular votes in presidential elections. It’s part of the National Popular Vote movement, already passed in 11 states with a total of 165 electoral votes, that would allow for a popular vote election once the number of states approving of such legislation reaches 271 electoral votes.
HF65 imposes a 10 percent tax on corporations if the ratio of CEO pay to median worker pay is at least 100:1 but less than 250:1. It imposes a 25 percent surcharge if the ratio exceeds 250:1.