Daily Digest: Special session is over

Good morning. It’s Friday and not a moment too soon. The special legislative session is over and so is the pledge drive. So it’s safe to take a look at the Digest:

1. The Legislature ended its session early this morning after passing the final pieces of a $46 billion two-year state budget. They also passed a nearly $1 billion bonding bill to fund public works construction projects across the state and a transportation funding bill. Gov. Mark Dayton didn’t speak to reporters overnight, but now he has to decide what to do with the budget bills. Some DFL-leaning groups are putting pressure on him to veto them, but Republican legislative leaders say they are confident he will sign them. (MPR News)

2. One of the big budget bills passed during the special session funds schools and early education. The majority of the money in the nearly $19 billion bill would go to schools’ base funding formula — the bread and butter of school budgets that school boards get to decide how to spend. Districts would get a 2 percent increase each of the next two years. That’s the highest of the proposals lawmakers and Dayton had put forward. Districts would also get more local control over hiring and firing teachers under the bill. An overhaul of the state’s licensing system would open new routes into teaching. But the licensing changes have the state teachers’ union calling for Dayton to veto the entire bill. (MPR News)

3. Legislation preventing Minnesota cities from enacting local labor requirements that deviate from state law is on its way to the governor, who has promised a veto.  It would block minimum wage and paid sick time ordinances in Minneapolis and St. Paul. Republicans combined the measure with other labor issues that Democrats support, including a paid family leave benefit for state employees. Dayton criticized the move earlier this week, saying it pitted “the earned financial security of hardworking state employees and retirees against the rights of local officials to make the decisions for which they were elected by their citizens.” (MPR News)

4. The Minneapolis City Council will likely lay out the basics of a minimum wage ordinance at a meeting Friday, and raising it to $15 an hour without a tip credit is all but certain. A range of timelines for introducing the minimum wage — from four years up to eight years, depending on business size — are under discussion ahead of the meeting. Council Member Jacob Frey, who is running for mayor, said he wants to give the public a clearer idea of what’s coming. “This has been rolling around for a while, and it’s time to provide some clarity,” he said, adding that people need “basic parameters” so they can give input. (Star Tribune)

5. A legislative pay raise approved by Minnesota voters hasn’t been provided for in a new state budget, but some lawmakers say the Legislature is only harming itself in the end. A state government budget bill leaves funding for the House and Senate flat. That means costs of the 45 percent increase in pay approved by an independent commission will have to be covered by cuts elsewhere. The pay raise — the first in two decades — is set to take effect July 1 and will result in lawmakers earning $45,000 per year. House Speaker Kurt Daudt, R-Zimmerman, says he won’t let the pay hike advance, even if he might not be able to stop it in the end. Voters decided overwhelmingly last fall to take lawmaker pay decisions out of the Legislature’s hands and vest it with the citizens commission. (MPR News)

The Digest will take Monday and Tuesday off next week. Have a great Memorial Day weekend.

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