Week Eleven: May 10, 2018

  • Batter up? Senate Republicans strike out on bonding bill

    Senate Republicans showed up to play ball on the bonding bill, but they forgot the bats. And the bases. And the gloves. Minnesota lawmakers are expected to put forth big, bold ideas, but the Republican plan barely scratches the surface of what is needed to repair and preserve taxpayer assets, putting families and businesses on the hook for billions down the road.

    If Republicans continue to ignore the growing backlog of public works requests from their local governments, Minnesotans’ quality of life will decline as a result and businesses will look to other states to invest and create jobs. A strong economy is possible when the private and public sectors work together hand in hand, but Senate Republicans’ plan likely leaves some businesses scratching their heads.

    Senate Republicans are playing small ball with their bonding bill. DFL Senators are ready to step up to the plate and hit a grand slam for Minnesota taxpayers. To get the needed 41 votes to pass their bill, Senate Republicans need DFL support. Upgrading their proposal and getting serious with addressing taxpayer assets would be a good start.

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    Twitter town hall engaged advocates

    The Minnesota Senate DFL held a Twitter Town Hall this week to continue the conversation on gun safety in Minnesota.

    Senate DFL Leader on Almanac this week

    Senator Bakk was on Almanac this week to talk about the legislative session.

    Minnesota celebrates Statehood Day

    The State of Minnesota celebrated Statehood Day at the Capitol this week.

    Now is not the time for reckless spending

    If you get paid on Friday and know your mortgage is due on Monday, do you spend every dime over the weekend and assume the problem will work itself out next week?

    Conference committee on omnibus supplemental budget bill begins work this week

    The conference committee tasked with hammering out the differences in the Senate and House supplemental budget bill met several times this week.

    Senate takes bipartisan action to hold the pharmaceutical industry accountable

    Bipartisan legislation was introduced early this session to raise money to combat the opioid overdose epidemic that claimed the lives of hundreds of Minnesotans last year.

    Legislature passes, Governor vetoes wild rice water quality standard bill

    The Senate and House gave final approval this week to a bill that nullifies the state’s current 10 mg/L wild rice water quality sulfate standard, and prevents a more recently developed equation-based standard from taking effect.

    Increasing access to child care and supporting providers

    A small step was taken this week to address the shortage of childcare providers across the state when Senators voted to pass a package of bills on child care.

    Senate passes bill to remove fee when creating or lifting credit freeze

    The Senate passed a bill this week that would allow the parents or guardians of children under the age of 16 to freeze their child’s credit.

    Bill to protect Minnesotans from predatory landlords passes Senate

    The Minnesota Senate passed a bill this week to protect renters from predatory landlords with bipartisan support.

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    Senate bonding bill released

    The Senate bonding bill was released this week to the public. The proposal spends $825 million in general fund supported debt. This amount is nearly identical to the House proposal, but is significantly less than Governor Dayton’s proposal, which allocates $1.456 billion.

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    New U of M regent chosen; newest regent not recommended for selection by join committee

    The House and Senate voted this week to elect Randy Simonson of Worthington to the University of Minnesota Board of Regents in a joint convention that took only one ballot. Simonson won on a vote of 103-86-1. Simonson was not recommended by the joint House-Senate Higher Education committees that met on May 7, 2018.

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    Emergency responder’s medication administration expanded

    Minnesota Senators passed legislation this week to direct the development of guidelines for emergency responders to administer life-saving medications that are carried by people with rare medical conditions. The goal would be to allow EMTs, AEMTs, and paramedics to assist a patient in emergency situations with administering a patient’s own prescription medications.

    Sexual harrassment change fails in MN Senate

    Senate DFL members tried to make an important update to Minnesota’s sexual harassment laws this week through an amendment to a related bill. The amendment would change the Minnesota Human Rights Act’s definition of sexual harassment to remove the “severe or pervasive” legal standard currently used by judges to determine if any sexual harassment case could be heard in court.

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    Senate Tax Bill finally revealed

    Senate Republicans finally released their plan to conform to federal tax change this week – just 20 days before session is required to adjourn. There are many points of agreement in the bill, including a policy that breaks the link between state and federal tax code in order to retain most of the state deductions and exemptions Minnesotans enjoy.

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    It’s time to hang up and drive

    Senate DFLers attempted this week to amend the ban on handheld cell phone use for drivers into a non-controversial traffic safety bill in the Senate. The amendment would have prohibited the use of cellphones while driving except if the driver was using a voice activated or hands-free device. According to the Office of Traffic Safety, distracted or inattentive driving is a factor in one in four Minnesota crashes.