ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota Senate and House of Representatives on Monday, May 20, approved a proposal to hike the fee on drug manufacturers to pay for the impacts of the opioid epidemic. In the final hours of the legislative session, a conference committee put up a last-minute deal that would require the manufacturers and distributors to pay fees expected to total more than $20 million. Those funds would be used to provide education and prevention programs as well as treatment programs.
ST. PAUL — Minnesota legislative leaders and the governor on Sunday, May 19, announced a compromise budget deal with hours remaining in the legislative session. After days of closed-door meetings, House Speaker Melissa Hortman, Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka and Gov. Tim Walz emerged with a plan to spend $48 billion over the next two years, a roughly 6% increase in spending from current funding levels.
ST. PAUL -- State legislative leaders and the governor on Monday, May 13, again deadlocked over state spending with a week left to get their work done. Legislative leaders in the nation's only divided Legislature started their conversations with a $2 billion gap in proposed spending and seemed to inch closer to the middle, each giving up a bit more with each counteroffer. But their talks abruptly broke off after Republicans committed to blocking new taxes and Democrats said they'd fight to levy them to help pay for priorities such as schools and health care programs.
ALBERT LEA, Minn. — The governor and Minnesota legislative leaders hooked a baker's dozen fish at the Governor's Fishing Opener Saturday, May 11, but they didn't reel in a budget deal. Gov. Tim Walz, Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, R-Nisswa, House Speaker Melissa Hortman, D-Brooklyn Park, along with Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk, D-Cook, and House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, spent the morning on Fountain Lake on a pontoon boat. Ahead of the trip, they said they'd be open to talking shop on the boat but decided Saturday morning to focus on the fish.
ST. PAUL - The Minnesota Legislature on Thursday, May 9, elected four new members to the University of Minnesota Board of Regents, bringing in a woman who believes she is the first Hmong American to serve on the board and boosting the number of women represented on the 12-person panel to three.
ST. PAUL — Seeing laws being written often is compared to watching sausage being made, but the 2019 Minnesota Legislature may look more like making applesauce. “It is a little bit like apples to boulders,” Democratic Gov. Tim Walz told reporters Monday, May 6, on talks to produce a two-year budget that could nudge $50 billion, comparing Democratic and Republican budget plans. He did not say it, but when boulders and apples get together, applesauce is a likely product.
ST. PAUL -- Buckle up, Minnesota. Construction season is on the way. The state Department of Transportation on Thursday, April 4, unveiled its list of 221 infrastructure construction projects slated for this spring and summer. And department leaders shared them with a word of warning for Minnesotans: get ready to spend some more time in the car.
ST. PAUL — What's a state lawmaker to do when he or she can't get a hearing at the Capitol? Well, one path is to invent a committee willing to hear it. Minnesota Senate Democrats frustrated that their proposals couldn't get a hearing in the Republican-led Senate on Monday, April 1, did just that. And no, it wasn't an April Fools' joke.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota Senate leaders say debates about Minnesota school funding should include tax breaks for groups that fund private and parochial school scholarships. At a news conference on Tuesday, March 19, Republican lawmakers said they'd again bring forward a bill that would fund up to $35 million in tax credits for people and organizations that fund scholarships for low- and middle-income families to send their kids to nonpublic schools.
ST. PAUL — A Minnesota Senate panel on Thursday, March 14, voted to outlaw abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy, paving the way for the proposal to advance in the Legislature. The bill would ban abortions on women who are past 20 weeks in their pregnancy except in cases of possible death or serious physical harm. Risk of substantial and irreversible psychological or emotional conditions would not be included.