Priorities: Here are the first bills Minnesota lawmakers introduced in 2015

Author:
Updated:
Original:

The Minnesota House (now controlled by the Republicans) and Senate (controlled by the Democrats) introduced their first bills of the 2015 Legislature Thursday, signaling what they see as some of the most important issues of this year's session.

Senate's first six

The DFL-controlled Senate introduced its first bills Thursday morning, many of them focused on long-term plans to help grow the state's economy and education programs.

The first six:

  • Flood relief: Match the $6.8 million in funding from FEMA, for 37 counties that were affected by flooding last June.
  • Higher education: Provide tuition assistance for high school graduates at state community or technical colleges, the goal being to help reduce student loan debt and give students the skills that employers say they need.
  • Rural health care: If medical care professionals work in a rural area for a certain amount of time, portions of their student loans would be forgiven (meaning, they wouldn't have to pay back that portion).
  • Child protection: Reforms to current child protection laws, focusing on screening and increased reviews of child welfare cases.
  • Workforce development: The state would partner with businesses and provide funding, in order to offer apprenticeships for high school students – they'd take vocational training for course credit.
  • Early education: Every 4-year-old in the state would get to attend preschool for free starting in the fall of 2016.

Absent from the first six was a bill on transportation, something that's been touted as a priority for both the Democrats and Republicans. The DFL-controlled Senate is expected to introduce a transportation proposal next week, Northland's NewsCenter notes.

House bills

House Republicans introduced several measures Thursday, which intend to strengthen the workforce and fix the state's roads.

The first five house files:

  • Tax credits: Provides tax credits and incentives for research and development, the goal being to create business and spur job growth in the state.
  • Education policy: Aims to strengthen teacher licensing in Minnesota and update teacher evaluation and tenure policies.
  • Long-term care: Loan forgiveness for nursing home and care facility workers.
  • Transportation funding: $750 million over the next four years to fix the state's crumbling roads and bridges, without raising taxes. The money would be taken from a highway fund, and accrued by implementing "certain efficiencies" in MnDOT.
  • Health care: The bill would make changes to MnSure, the state's health care exchange, including adding more legislative oversight.

Next Up

Zach Parise

Ghosts of Wild's past force split with Sharks

Brent Burns and Ryan Donato thwarted a comeback attempt by the Wild.

Avante Dickerson

Top-ranked recruit Avante Dickerson decommits from Gopher football

The four-star cornerback was the highest-rated recruit in Minnesota's 2021 class.

u.s. district court minnesota - federal court minneapolis

Limits on in-person court activity extended for 45 days

The statewide order extends current limitations through March 15.

D'Angelo Russell / Minnesota Timberwolves

The Timberwolves need more from D'Angelo Russell

The Wolves haven't gotten what they expected since making a blockbuster trade.

oct. 20 snow crash

Spinouts, crashes still happening after snow leaves MN roads a mess

The snow storm caused at least 208 crashes this weekend.

1024px-Crock_pot

For The Week: Food tips and tricks to get you through the next 7 days

BMTN's food writer Lindsay Guentzel makes life easier for Minnesotans.

snow, plow

Here's how much snow fell in Saturday's storm in Minnesota

MSP Airport had the highest total as of 7 a.m. Sunday with 5.3 inches.

Screen Shot 2021-01-18 at 3.17.49 PM

No KAT? No D'Lo? No problem as Timberwolves defeat Pelicans

The Timberwolves were without Karl-Anthony Towns and D'Angelo Russell, but still picked up a (SCORE) win.

Related

Minnesota lawmakers introduce bill to control cormorant population

A bipartisan bill by Reps. John Kline and Collin Peterson would give states the authority to manage the cormorant population -- which they say have displaced other species. Under current law, federal officials must first approve population control plans.