Jobs and Economic Development

Tax Credit for Beginning Farmers

In an attempt to strengthen Minnesota’s local and family farms, a set of tax credits has been proposed in the Jobs, Agriculture, and Rural Development Committee. The first tax credit ...
Read More

Rural Task Force: Employment and Career Counseling

The bipartisan centerpiece legislation from the Senate Rural Task Force invests in rural career counseling coordinators to advise youth of employment and education opportunities. The goal of legislation is to expose ...
Read More

Hemp

Industrial hemp in Minnesota is an economic opportunity for the state’s farming and manufacturing sectors. A bill to allow Minnesota to join a growing list of states with laws to ...
Read More

Minnesota Seed Law

The Duluth Public Library, in partnership with the Institute for a Sustainable Future, launched the state’s first Seed Library in 2014. The Seed Library allows library patrons to sign-up to ...
Read More

Agriculture Research, Education, and Technology

This bill proposes broader investment and oversight in the state’s agricultural research and educational initiatives through dedicated funding and the creation of the Agriculture Research, Education, and Technology Transfer Board ...
Read More

Agricultural Educator Grant Program

There is a significant shortage of agricultural educators in Minnesota’s schools. With the broad range of opportunities in Minnesota’s agribusiness sector, it can be difficult to recruit and retain agriculture ...
Read More

Livestock Industry Study

The changing landscape of the state’s livestock industry has been a significant point of concern and discussion recently at the legislature. Over the past 25 years, the swine industry has ...
Read More

Preventing Insurance Fraud

Legislation was introduced this session aimed at addressing insurance fraud issues in the state. Currently, Minnesota has one of the highest rates of insurance fraud in the country, costing the ...
Read More

No Fault Insurance

Legislation was introduced to form a task force to examine issues related to Minnesota’s no-fault auto insurance system. The task force would have 19 members comprised of representatives from insurance ...
Read More

Equity Crowdfunding

This session, a bipartisan group of legislators introduced legislation to create an equity crowdfunding opportunity, known as MNvest. MNvest is a securities exemption for intrastate crowdfunding in Minnesota that would ...
Read More

Savings Plan Raffles

Legislation was introduced with the goal of incentivizing higher savings rates among consumers through allowing credit unions to establish savings promotion raffles. With this Prize Linked Savings (PLS) system, every ...
Read More

Insurance for Rideshares

“Ridesharing” has increasingly become a transportation option for people on the go. Unlike traditional taxis, this mode of transit allows people to use their own cars and their own time ...
Read More

School Facilities

After years of underfunding and stories from students and administrators about condemned theater curtains, mold, leaking roofs, and crumbling outdoor tracks, the Minnesota Senate is considering two bills that address ...
Read More

Early Childhood Education

As numerous studies have proven, preparing children for kindergarten is critical to their academic success in the K-12 system. Research has shown that up to 90% of brain development occurs ...
Read More

Teacher Evaluations

The Senate E-12 Committee heard testimony this session on teacher evaluations recommendations, and specifically on how to align the QComp and Teacher Evaluation programs. A working group that met last ...
Read More

Formula Funding

The past two legislative sessions have brought much-needed per-pupil Basic Funding Formula increases for Minnesota schools ($238 million in 2013 and $23.4 million in 2014). While these increases and other ...
Read More

School Nutrition

The Senate E-12 Committee is considering a bill that addresses school nutrition by providing free school breakfasts to all Minnesota elementary school-age children. This legislation would build on a 2014 ...
Read More

College in the Schools

The Senate E-12 Committee is considering legislation that would increase the allocation to the Concurrent Enrollment Program. Concurrent enrollment allows high school juniors and seniors to take college-level courses through ...
Read More

Broadband and Technology

Technology needs at Minnesota schools are under consideration this session. While technology itself is critical to student learning, the Senate believes schools need qualified technologists in the classroom in order ...
Read More

Teacher Shortage and Recruitment

With a teacher shortage looming in Minnesota, bipartisan legislation is being considered that looks at reforming how teachers are licensed in Minnesota, without sacrificing teacher quality and preparation. The goal ...
Read More

Student Testing

The Minnesota Department of Education presented its recommendations from the testing reduction advisory group to the Legislature this session. Governor Dayton tasked MDE with studying how the state could reduce ...
Read More

Special Education

All Minnesota students deserve a quality education. To that end, the Senate is considering several bills that address special education needs. These bills include: Enhanced training requirements and opportunities for ...
Read More

Local Control

Part of the belief that drives education policy in Minnesota is allowing local districts to have control and decision-making power to make the best decisions for their individual school districts ...
Read More

Omnibus Elections Bill

The Omnibus Elections bill contains a number of provisions heard this year, including: Early voting: This provision allows voters to cast their ballot early and in-person for a primary, general, ...
Read More

June Primary

A proposal to move the primary to June received an informational hearing. Some legislators believe moving the primary to June will result in higher voter turnout and will allow candidates ...
Read More

Campaign Finance Disclosure

As the influence of independent expenditures grows on Minnesota elections, there is increased interest in informing voters about who they are and what they represent. Legislation was heard this year ...
Read More

Plastic Microbeads

Microbeads are plastic particles less than five millimeters in size. When used in personal care products like facial scrubs, soaps and toothpaste, the tiny microbeads head straight for our water ...
Read More

Flame Retardants

Flame retardants, many of which are carcinogenic, are found in upholstered furniture and children’s products, but recent research shows they are ineffective and are no longer required by state regulators ...
Read More

Toxic-free Kids

Legislation surrounding dangerous chemicals used in children’s products would appropriate almost $1.4 million to increase available information, enhance consumer awareness, and give product manufacturers incentives to reduce problem chemicals in ...
Read More

Wetland Mitigation

Comprised of recommendations from a stakeholder group led by the Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) and the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), this bill is a package of ...
Read More

Riparian Buffer Requirements

Governor Dayton’s bill to require at least 50 feet of vegetation around the state’s waterways was introduced late in session, but continues through the committee process. Water management experts and ...
Read More

Game & Fish Omnibus Bill

The Omnibus Game and Fish bill addresses multiple game, fish, and natural resource management needs proposed by the Department of Natural Resources, and includes several initiatives, including: Minnesota Veterans home ...
Read More

Electronic Recycling

A bill modifying provisions related to electronic waste management seeks to improve the state’s electronic waste recycling efforts, especially in regards to video display devices (VDD). The bill seeks to ...
Read More

Aquatic Invasive Species Sticker

This legislation modifies a law passed in 2012 that requires those who haul boats or boat-docking equipment to undergo a 30-minute online training course about preventing the spread of aquatic ...
Read More

Renewable Energy Standards

Increasing Minnesota’s renewable energy standard (RES) goals would diversify the state’s energy sources and boost the economy.  Legislators are considering a proposal to gradually raise the RES to 40% by ...
Read More

Energy Efficiency

Energy efficiency is the cheapest and cleanest route to fulfilling energy needs.  Energy efficiency advocates point out that Minnesota’s current 1.5% yearly energy savings goal for utilities is already is ...
Read More

Environment & Energy Budget

Much of the remaining work of the session will be focused on setting the biennial budgets for the major environment and energy agencies: the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, the Department ...
Read More

Child Protection Legislation Signed into Law

After it was fast-tracked through the legislative process, child protection legislation was signed into law implementing two of the 32 recommendations offered by the Governor’s Task Force on the Protection ...
Read More

Medical Assistance for Employed Persons with Disabilities

Medical Assistance for Employed Persons with Disabilities (MA-EPD) is a program that provides Medical Assistance (MA) coverage to persons with disabilities without the asset and income limitations of traditional MA ...
Read More

Non-Emergency Medical Transportation

Over the past five years, there has been substantial work done to reform the payment and regulation of our non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) providers. A few years ago, the Health ...
Read More

Violence against Health Care Workers

A violent and unsettling video of St. John’s Hospital nurses in Maplewood being attacked by a patient wielding a metal bar from an IV pole made the news back in ...
Read More

MFIP Assistance Increase

Two bills were heard that would increase the cash grants for the Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP). The program is the state’s support program for working families with children, and ...
Read More

Steve’s Law and Naloxone Distribution

Steve’s Law EMS Training Appropriation     This legislation would appropriate money to expand education and distribution of the opiate overdose antidote Naloxone (Narcan). The bill would provide funding for the implementation ...
Read More

Prior Authorization Requirements

This bill would remove barriers confronting a patient’s access to necessary medications. Currently, health plans may require subscribers to submit certain prescriptions for approval before they are covered, through a ...
Read More

CARE Act (Caregiver Advise, Record, Enable)

The CARE Act encourages patients and their loved ones to have a conversation about hospital aftercare before it becomes a pressing issue upon discharge. This bill encourages patients to designate ...
Read More

Legislative Health Care Workforce Commission Recommendations

In December, the Legislative Health Care Workforce Commission released its recommendations for strengthening Minnesota’s health care workforce. One of the recommendations was to expand participation in the current Health Professional ...
Read More

Homeless Youth Act Appropriation

On any given night, an estimated 4,080 Minnesota youth experience homelessness. To provide them with comfort and care, legislation was introduced to fund an additional $2 million a year for ...
Read More

MNsure Governance Restructure

The MNsure Governance Restructure bill would transform MNsure into a state agency, and was crafted after complaints from citizens and legislators regarding oversight, technical glitches, and ease of accessing coverage ...
Read More

Safe Harbor Appropriation

The 2015 Safe Harbor for Sexually Exploited Youth bill would make $8.3 million in critical state investments for safe shelter and supportive services and additional shelter beds for sexually exploited ...
Read More

MA Income, Asset Limits, and Spenddown Increases

The ACA allowed states to increase the income standard for adults accessing Medical Assistance (MA) to 133% FPG (Federal Poverty Guideline) and eliminate the asset limits for this and most ...
Read More

Mental Health Hubs

Two bills would make mental health services more accessible to those in crisis and streamline the many support structures that individuals rely on to address mental health needs. The bipartisan ...
Read More

Nursing Home Rate Modifications

This legislation would improve the way the state funds our nursing homes. Major innovation in Minnesota’s nursing facility payment system has not occurred since the 1990s. This proposal would provide ...
Read More

MN Telemedicine Act

The MN Telemedicine Act was introduced to help rural communities maintain continued access to high-quality health care. The legislation would allow healthcare providers to continue utilizing technology to deliver high-quality ...
Read More

Interstate Medical Licensure Compact

This legislation would enroll Minnesota in the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact, which would enable physicians to practice across state lines – physically or via telecommunication – while still being under ...
Read More

Let’s Talk Now Act + Advance Care Planning

The Let’s Talk Now and Advance Care Planning acts are bills that provide support in encouraging families and communities to talk early about end-of-life planning. The legislation incorporates elements of ...
Read More

Health Care Regulatory Review Task Force

This bill would create a task force to review the regulations that govern Minnesota’s health plan industry. Reforms within the industry have created a complicated web of regulations that impact ...
Read More

The ABLE Act

In 2014, the President signed the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act, which allows a new type of account for persons with disabilities under the existing 529 plan structure ...
Read More

Alzheimer’s Research and Support Act

The Alzheimer’s Research and Support Act establishes an Alzheimer’s research program and further addresses the needs of people with Alzheimer’s and the families that care for them. According to the ...
Read More

HHSH Deficiency Funding

Minnesota Security Hospital, Ebola Preparedness Appropriations from Deficiency Bill To meet the needs of the Minnesota Security Hospital in St. Peter following a series of mandated reforms led by the ...
Read More

Tuition Freeze

In the last biennium, legislative leaders committed to investing in the state’s higher education system enough to freeze tuition at the University of Minnesota (U of M) and for the ...
Read More

The Governor’s Proposal

From 2012 to 2014, the Governor and Legislature invested $276 million in higher education, continuing the DFL trend of reversing a decade of deep cuts and making higher education more ...
Read More

Investing in the University of Minnesota

The University of Minnesota would see funding for several major priorities thanks to Senate legislation. The proposal would invest $65.3 million to support the University’s education mission, $25.5 million to ...
Read More

MnSCU Budget Request

Like the U of M, the MnSCU system has requested additional state assistance to help in its efforts to hold down tuition. However, negotiations at MnSCU between the administration, faculty, ...
Read More

Refinance Student Loans

Student debt continues to be a major issue for many of Minnesota’s students. A recent report found that Minnesota’s students rank fifth in the nation in total debt burden. This ...
Read More

Health Care Workforce

One of the major priorities of the Senate’s legislation for the U of M is investing in its health care infrastructure. This includes the $30 million in the U of ...
Read More

Board of Regents

The Legislature had the responsibility of choosing five University of Minnesota Regents this year, filling the positions of four regent terms slated to expire in 2015, and one regent to ...
Read More

MnSCU Board of Trustees

The Governor appointed six new members to fill vacancies on the MnSCU Board of Trustees. The appointees began their terms in August but will need to be confirmed by the ...
Read More

Surplus State Grant Money

OHE recently released projections showing a surplus of about $74 million dollars in the State Grant fund during FY2016-2017. This money, which generally helps low-and moderate-income families, can be reinvested ...
Read More

MnSCU Credit Transfer Plan

Some students within MnSCU have seen their credits go uncounted when transferring between schools. Although the schools are in the same system, sometimes students are required to retake the same ...
Read More

Full Credit for PSEO Classes

Legislation was heard requiring MnSCU institutions to give full credit to a student who earned PSEO credits as part of a goal area or transfer curriculum at a MnSCU institution ...
Read More

Earn While You Learn

Currently, many employers in highly skilled fields find that students are unprepared for the positions they need. Likewise, many students who graduate are unable to find jobs or are underemployed ...
Read More

Disclosure and Added Transparency

As student debt burdens continue to increase, more attention is being focused on potentially predatory practices that may take advantage of students. One effort to address this issue would increase ...
Read More

No Remedial Classes for College-Ready Testers

To improve efficiency and reduce redundancies in class, this bill prohibits a state college or university from requiring an individual to take a remedial non-credit course if the individual received ...
Read More

OLA Report on Research Practices at the U of M

The Senate Higher Education and Workforce Development Committee heard two reports on research practices at the U of M. The reports, one of which was requested by higher education leaders ...
Read More

Helping Rural Minnesota

In a multi-member, bipartisan effort to address jobs training, housing needs, and a skills gap in Greater Minnesota, a package of bills is being considered this session. The bills, which ...
Read More

Workforce Housing

Workforce housing is an issue that has been discussed in numerous committees in a bipartisan fashion this session. According to the Minnesota Rural Counties Caucus, who has lobbied the legislature ...
Read More

Rural Task Force

The Rural Task Force is an eight-member bipartisan group of Senators who came together this fall to identify specific needs for rural Minnesota. The needs of Greater Minnesota can be ...
Read More

Rural Career Counseling and Minnesota Youth Program

The bipartisan centerpiece legislation from the Senate Rural Task Force invests in rural career counseling coordinators placed at nine Workforce Development Centers across the state. The coordinators will be dedicated ...
Read More

Broadband

With roughly 20% of Minnesotans lacking access to basic broadband, connectivity remains a concern. The Greater Minnesota Partnership has stated that on an annualized basis, 95% coverage would produce $440 ...
Read More

Urban Challenge Grants and Business Development Pilot Program

In 2014, the Legislature designed the HOME pilot project (Housing opportunities made equitable) to help close the disparity in affordable housing for all communities of color in Minnesota. This legislation ...
Read More

HOME Pilot Project

In 2014, the Legislature designed the HOME pilot project (Housing opportunities made equitable) to help close the disparity in affordable housing for all communities of color in Minnesota. This legislation ...
Read More

Automated License Plate Reader Legislation

The Senate Judiciary and Transportation committees heard legislation that would lay out guidelines for the retention of data gathered by law enforcement agencies through automated license plate readers. This has ...
Read More

Juvenile Justice Act

In recent years, studies have shown so-called “tough on crime” policies aren’t actually working, and in some cases have shown to actually be counterproductive, especially in regards to juvenile delinquency ...
Read More

Police Body Camera Data Provisions

More police departments are utilizing body cameras for their officers to ensure adherence to proper policy and procedures, to provide accountability in the case of police misconduct, and to defend ...
Read More

DWI Provision Changes

In Minnesota, punishments related to Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) convictions are separated into two distinct realms. The first encompassing criminal punishments (i.e. jail time, fines), and the second made up ...
Read More

DWI Omnibus Bill

This year’s omnibus bill contains several fixes, as well as several policy changes. One of the major policy changes is the ability of defendants to use the affirmative defense. This ...
Read More

Peace Officer-Caused Death Investigations

Due to recent events, police across the country are under immense scrutiny when they make the decision to use deadly force. The use of deadly force is one of the ...
Read More

Drone Use by Law Enforcement

During this legislative session, as well as the past biennium, the Senate Judiciary Committee has heard testimony regarding the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), also known as drones, by ...
Read More

Blue Alert

With the massive success of the Amber Alert program, legislation making its way through the Capitol would expand the program to police emergencies. The so-called Blue Alert would be triggered ...
Read More

Mental Health Diversion Program

Due to inadequate space at mental health facilities across the state, those with severe mental illnesses are often arrested and jailed instead of being admitted to a mental health facility ...
Read More

Flood Relief

The first bill signed into law this session was Senate File 1, a disaster assistance bill for dozens of counties hit hard by damaging flooding last year. Thanks to an ...
Read More

Deficiency Funding Bill

The Minnesota Security Hospital and the Minnesota Zoo are two recipients of an appropriation through a $15.45 million deficiency bill signed into law. The bill provides sufficient funding to state ...
Read More

Mobile Salons

Legislation heard this week would authorize the Minnesota Board of Cosmetology to define mobile salons and provide operational requirements to keep business standards high and clients safe. These salons provide ...
Read More

Online Lottery Sales Ban

Two Gambling Prohibition/Charitable Gambling bills that would prohibit online, gas station pump, and ATM lottery sales are moving through the legislature. Supporters argue that gambling shouldn’t be so convenient and ...
Read More

Appoint Rather than Elect County Officers

This bill would enable any county to transition from elected county officers to appointed county officers once a vacancy in the position occurs or the board has signed a contract ...
Read More

Legislative Budget Office

A proposal to create a legislative budget office is moving through the process that would oversee the creation and review of the fiscal impact estimates for proposed legislation. That would ...
Read More

Omnibus Retirement Bill

The Legislative Commission on Pensions and Retirement (LCPR) convened for the first time in late February. The LCPR is a bipartisan commission tasked with creating an omnibus retirement bill each ...
Read More

Tax Fairness and Our Economy

For the first time in nine years, 90% of Minnesota taxpayers will be paying a smaller percentage of their incomes to state and local taxes, according to the nonpartisan Tax ...
Read More

Tax Conformity and the Destination Medical Center

The legislature worked together to quickly pass a $20 million middle-class tax-relief package in the first 20 days of the 2015 Session. This means less confusion for taxpayers and tax ...
Read More

Energy Production Taxes

Minnesota has spent the last several decades developing policies for energy production taxes. In 2014, the legislature directed the Minnesota Department of Revenue to create a report outlining the taxation ...
Read More

Workforce Development

Veterans Hiring Tax Credit The proposed credit would lower the disproportionately high veterans’ unemployment rate by providing an income tax credit to businesses who hire qualified veterans. Under the legislation, ...
Read More

Business Taxes

Research and Development Tax Credit Three bills heard in the Tax Reform Division would make improvements to the existing research and development tax credit, a lucrative tax benefit that encourages ...
Read More

Property Tax Relief

State Aids to Local Governments Since 1972, state aids to local governments have been a critical lifeline for local units of government to provide important services without having to rely ...
Read More

Governor’s Budget Proposal

Tax Credits for Working Families Gov. Dayton’s balanced budget proposal would expand the Dependent Care Tax Credit to nearly 130,000 families and bring Minnesota’s credit almost entirely to the federal ...
Read More

Dedicated Transportation Funding

The Senate DFL’s comprehensive transportation funding package proposes raising dedicated revenue for Minnesota’s roads and bridges, allowing expansions and projects to get off the ground, on top of much-needed maintenance ...
Read More

Transportation Omnibus Bill

According to the Governor’s Transportation Finance Advisory Committee (TFAC), the state is projected to have a $21.2 billion dollar funding gap over the next 20 years for our transportation system ...
Read More

Transportation Committee Hits the Road

The Senate Transportation and Public Safety Committee held several field hearings early this session, to see and experience the state’s transportation network firsthand and to hear testimony from residents who ...
Read More

Improving Minnesota’s Railroads

Minnesota’s railroads are seeing an unprecedented spike in use and pressure as North Dakota’s oil boom continues. Many of Minnesota’s rail lines are at capacity, and with the freight lines ...
Read More

Crystal and Hennepin County Railroad Legislation

Several bills heard this session surround a railroad project in Crystal, Minnesota that could have broad implications around the state. The project is a connector track at an intersection between ...
Read More

Uninsured Drivers

Legislation that would require proof of insurance before motor vehicle or motorcycle registration, reregistration, or ownership transfer passed Commerce Committee this week and has been sent to General Orders. S.F ...
Read More

Drivers Licenses for All

To help ensure safer roads for Minnesota, the Drivers Licenses for All legislation allows more people to get a valid driver’s license. The bill changes the types of documents needed ...
Read More

Increasing Worker Safety on Minnesota’s Roads

The workers who maintain and repair Minnesota’s sprawling road network saw great efforts to improve their safety passed in the last biennium. This year, further legislation was heard to increase ...
Read More

Veterans

Free Hunting Permits for Veterans’ Home Residents Legislation to permit any veterans’ home resident to hunt and take antlerless deer using a firearm or muzzleloader without a permit is making ...
Read More

2015 Mid-Session Update

As the Minnesota Legislature enters its Legislative Break, committees have been focusing closely on important policy legislation, and Senate leadership prepares its budgetary targets for the biennium. As the framework ...
Read More

The Omnibus Liquor Bill

The Senate’s Omnibus Liquor Bill contains provisions on growlers, microdistilleries, liquor licenses for three golf courses, a special liquor license for Minneapolis, 8:00 a.m. on-site sales on Sundays, brewpub sales ...
Read More

Sunday Sales

Allowing liquor stores to open on Sundays is an issue discussed every year. The bill was heard in the House, but did not receive a hearing in the Senate. It ...
Read More

Minnesota’s Biennial Budget

One of the biggest responsibilities legislators have is crafting a budget to manage the state’s responsibilities. 2015 is the year that legislators put together a comprehensive budget and fund our ...
Read More

Senate DFL Media