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Legislative preview: Budget will be job No. 1

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A new Minnesota legislative session begins at noon Tuesday, with Democrats fresh from big election victories and now controlling both chambers.

That means DFL Gov. Mark Dayton will find a more receptive audience to his tax and spending proposals. Lawmakers say their top priority will be the state budget and projected $1.1 billion deficit, MPR reports.

But it won't be an easy road for Dayton. For him, there is opportunity and peril ahead, the Star Tribune reported Sunday. He says the easier two years are behind him – and now it's time for very difficult choices about where the state can trim its expenses, the newspaper reported.

DFLers face the pressure of living up to a promise to get things done, the Pioneer Press reported Sunday in a legislative preview.

MPR also prepared special legislative previews: 10 players to watch and top issues to keep your eye on in the coming session.

Meanwhile, Republican lawmakers will be looking for a way back to election victories after a dismal showing in November, the Star Tribune reported. GOP leaders hope upcoming battles over the budget and deficits, gay marriage, tax policy, health care and gun control ultimately help boost their chances in the next election, the newspaper reported.

WCCO reports that not everyone is gearing up for a fight. Several lawmakers recently attended a seminar for lawmakers
sponsored by the Conflict Resolution Center in Minneapolis, where both Democrats and Republicans learned more about the art of mediation.

The Associated Press reports that with the beginning of the session also comes a dash for campaign cash.

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