Lawmakers approve school funding in final push before Monday deadline


Minnesota legislators took a Sunday morning break, but were back at work in the Capitol by the early afternoon, racing to get their work done before Monday's mandatory adjournment of the 2013 session.

The Senate approved a $15.7 billion school funding bill on a 41-26 vote. The Associated Press reports the bill accounts for about 40 percent of what the state will spend over the next two years. The House approved the same measure at about 2 a.m.

MPR reports the House was in session through the night from Saturday into Sunday, debating a bill that would let child care providers and personal care attendants vote on whether to join unions. Republican opponents of the bill offered many amendments that were debated at length before the DFL leadership finally called a 7 a.m. recess with the issue still unresolved.

The House's to-do list also included the transportation funding bill and the tax bill, which came back from a conference committee late Saturday night.

The Associated Press reports there's also some talk of putting together a miniature version of the package of construction projects that failed to pass the House on Friday. The slimmed-down package would fund just of the few of the projects.

Repairs to the State Capitol head that list. The Star Tribune reports that while lawmakers were talking a pipe sprang a leak, sending water raining down from the ceiling into one of the tunnels beneath the historic building.

Among the issues that were settled Sunday: lawmakers will not be getting raises this year. Also, the House unanimously approved a bill that contains protections for Minnesotans facing foreclosure.

With the tax bill emerging from the conference committee, Minnesota is edging closer to raising income taxes on the highest-earning two percent of residents. Fox 9 spoke with tax analysts who said that while the tax hike will raise money to balance the budget and increase school funding, there are also some risks in looking to such a small slice of the populace to beef up state funds.

The incomes in that highest tax bracket tend to be more volatile since they're subject to fluctuations in the stock market and the variables of running a business. Some of the 40,000 households in that bracket may also find ways to shelter income or may move out of state, experts say.

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