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The 2022 Minnesota Legislative Session is underway, and the first day marked the introduction of loads of bills, from policy changes to public funding projects. 

Over the next few months, lawmakers will be deciding how to spend the state's projected $7.7 billion budget surplus, choosing what public construction projects to fund in the form of a bonding bill, and weighing policy changes and proposals.

Democrats, who control the House, and Republicans, who control the Senate, have laid out their priorities, which they'll have to agree on if they want to get anything passed. 

DFLers have an agenda that includes paid family leave, addressing climate change, funding for schools and other programs to help Minnesotans feel more economically secure, as well as public safety.

Republicans' top priorities include cutting taxes for Minnesotans and businesses and public safety, including addressing violent crime and retaining more police officers.

Both caucuses have expressed the need to figure out how to distribute pandemic bonus pay to frontline workers (something they haven't been able to agree on) and replenish the unemployment insurance trust fund. 

And the bills that were introduced on the first day of the session help show what other issues lawmakers are interested in addressing.

It's worth noting that all seats in the Legislature are up for election this year, so control of the Capitol and governor's office is up for grabs. This will surely impact the debate on most issues over the next four months, and will lead to both sides introducing bills that have little chance of passing the other chamber and becoming law. 

Here's a look at some of the hundreds of bills introduced in the House and Senate on day one: 

Abortion

Republican lawmakers on Monday introduced a few bills that would limit abortion access for Minnesotans, including a Texas-style abortion ban. 

A proposal from Rep. Tim Miller, R-Prinsburg, would prohibit abortions when a fetal heartbeat is detected, allowing any person to take civil action against someone who performs an abortion or aids the performance of an abortion, including an insurance company that pays for or reimburses the cost of the procedure. The penalty would be not less than $10,000 for each abortion.

The proposal would also force the closure of a clinic that provides abortions if a someone wins a case against a provider. 

Rep. Tina Liebling, DFL-Rochester, who chairs the House Health Finance and Policy Committee, criticized the bill, saying: 

"[The proposal] comes just as the Supreme Court seems poised to throw out 50 years of settled law that allows the person who is pregnant – not politicians – to decide whether to have an abortion. This is a warning to Minnesotans of what will happen if Republicans get control of the legislature and the governor’s office. They will go to extremes to stop pregnant Minnesotans from accessing the full range of pregnancy care, including the right to a safe, convenient abortion. Minnesotans deserve the right to make decisions about abortion based on their own values and priorities, without interference from politicians.”

Another bill proposed by Miller would require a disclosure be to a woman before taking an abortion pill or having a chemical abortion. There is also a proposal from a few Republican lawmakers that would require an in-person appointment with a provider before providing an abortion drug.

A group of Republicans also proposed a measure that would require a notice for any medication, medical equipment or medical device that was developed "using aborted fetal tissue."

COVID vaccines, medications

Rep. Erik Mortensen, R-Shakopee, on Monday introduced a few bills pertaining to the use of ivermectin, a medication that has become a politicized rallying cry among the anti-vaccine crowd.

A proposal Mortensen is sponsoring would require ivermectin to be available over the counter. Another one would prohibit limitations on prescribing ivermectin.

The drug is approved for use in humans to treat two specific conditions caused by parasitic worms, but health experts and the drug's manufacturer, Merck, have said there is not any concrete evidence it will be effective against COVID.

Lawmakers also introduced a slew of proposals related to COVID-19 vaccines.

A proposal from Mortensen would prohibit COVID-19 and influenza vaccine requirements and vaccine passports. Rep. Eric Lucero, R-St. Michael, introduced a bill that would prohibit employers from requiring or incentivizing the public display of medical information, including vaccination status. 

Republicans also introduced a bill that would ensure someone who is fired for not adhering to a vaccination mandate gets unemployment insurance benefits and allows proof of recovery from COVID-19 as a substitution for required vaccination.

Rep. Mary Franson, R-Alexandria, and Lucero have proposed a bill that would prohibit several things that have been used to help slow the spread of COVID-19. The bill would prohibit mandatory vaccinations, prohibit businesses from requiring certain vaccination documentation, prohibit school districts from requiring students to wear masks, and limit the governor's peacetime emergency powers. 

Similar proposals, including those that would prohibit vaccine passports, have been introduced in the Senate as well.

Among the other proposals: prohibiting local enforcement of vaccine passports; prohibiting enforcement of government vaccine mandates and allow proof of presence of "natural antibodies" as an alternative to vaccination; and requiring a parent or legal guardian to be present for vaccine administration to a minor, among others. 

Meanwhile, Rep. Mike Freiberg, DLF-Golden Valley, proposed a bill that would require school staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19, while allowing for exemptions. 

Education

Among the education-related bills that have been introduced include a proposal from Republicans that would prohibit a critical race theory curriculum requirement – though it doesn't describe what it means by "critical race theory."

Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen, R-Glencoe, who is among the sponsors of the aforementioned CRT proposal, has also introduced a bill that would require school districts to do the following: 

"Provide instruction to students in grades 9 to 12 exploring the contrast between the scientific facts on how sickness, disease, pain, suffering, and death relate to the existence of complex living organisms, and how sickness, disease, pain, suffering, and death are a consequence imposed by the creator of complex living organisms."

A bill from Rep. Kaela Berg, DFL-Burnsville, would permit "patriotic and national organizations with youth-focused missions" to distribute information during school hours about how they can participate.

A group of DFL lawmakers is proposing a bill that would require school districts to provide menstrual products for students and give districts money to buy the products. 

Guns

A proposed bill from a group of Republican lawmakers would allow people to carry and possess guns at the Minnesota State Fair. 

Last summer, a judge denied a gun rights group's request to be allowed to carry guns at the Great Minnesota Get Together. The State Fair has banned weapons on the fairgrounds since at least 2003.

Another proposal would allow people who are 18 to apply for a permit to carry. Current law sets the age of eligibility at 21. 

Deer, wolves

A proposal from a group of House Democrats aims to address chronic wasting disease by modifying requirements for certain owners of farmed deer and Cervidae and require live-animal testing for CWD.

In the Senate, Sen. Karla Bigham, DFL-Cottage Grove, proposed a bill that would prohibit registration of new white-tailed deer farms and prohibit the movement and importation of farmed deer except for purposes of slaughter. 

Another proposal from Democratic lawmakers would require an open season for wolf hunting. 

Sex/gender

There's a proposal that would allow Minnesotans to change or remove the sex on their original birth certificate. Another proposal would prohibit health care services from requiring those seeking gender dysphoria care to meet a definition of "medically necessary." 

Elections

Several election-related bills have already been introduced, including a bill that would require photo ID to register to vote and to vote. That proposal, from House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, and Rep. Anne Neu Brindley, R-North Branch, would make a slew of other changes to election law.

Public safety

A number of public safety bills were introduced in both the House and Senate on Monday. Among them: a bill that would make carjacking its own crime; a bill that would expand the use of tracking devices during stolen vehicle investigations; a bill that would require money be used for pretrial diversion programs for use and establish a vehicle theft intervention pilot program; a bill that would prohibit courts from sentencing someone without regard to the mandatory minimum sentence; a bill that would reimburse peace officers for autism training costs; and a bill that would establish funding for youth intervention program grants.

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