MN lawmakers have 6 weeks to pass bills – what will get through?


Minnesota's lawmakers returned Tuesday from their weeklong Easter break and are turning their attentions to a raft of bills to be discussed before the Legislature adjourns on May 18.

The main priority for Minnesota's House and Senate, according to the Associated Press, will be deciding on a Budget to keep the government functioning for the next two years.

There have been three different proposals – from Gov. Mark Dayton, Senate Democrats and House Republicans – for how to organize $40 billion-plus of spending, as well as the $1.9 billion surplus, and whether the parties can come to a compromise will be a key feature of the coming weeks.

The Pioneer Press identified 24 of the key issues likely to be up for discussion in the next legislative phase, which you can view here.

Here are some of those that are more likely to be resolved by May 18:

Bonding bill for public works

Gov. Dayton on Tuesday revealed his plans for an $850 million bonding bill to fund construction projects and create jobs, with indications that most of them will center on rural Minnesota. It faces a battle to get pushed through however, with the Republican-led House not keen on a bill, according to the Star Tribune.

Capitol renovation

The ongoing, seemingly never-ending work on the State Capitol building requires another $30 million to cover water damage and extra security measures needed. The work is necessary – and it's inconveniencing every lawmaker – so expect it to get passed.

Child protection

The legislature has already passed – and Dayton signed off on – two of the recommendations from a task force created by the governor to tighten the state's child protection laws. The task force has put forward 93 recommendations, so some more could pass next month, with others following next year.

Long-term care

Some form of increased funding will be passed for the state's nursing homes and long-term care programs, but what is up for debate is the amount, the Pioneer Press notes. It forms part of the three different budget proposals, with the House Republicans wanting an extra $160 million, compared to Dayton's $25 million.

Police body cameras

This contentious issue may or may not get resolved, with the AP noting it could be one of those that gets "punted to next year." It's due for a full Senate vote, but House Republicans are likely to want it to be looked at in greater detail. It is a complex subject and there are differing views, such as on how much of the footage should be made public.

Sunday growler sales

Another attempt to lift the ban on liquor stores selling alcohol on Sundays is all but certain to fail for another year – but one bill that is gaining traction would see craft breweries allowed to sell the 66-ounce containers of beer on Sundays.

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