Updated:
Original:

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

Author:

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

Union Gospel Mission graffiti side by side - Duluth PD

Vandals target longstanding Duluth soup kitchen, transitional housing site

Union Gospel Mission has been operating in the city since 1922.

i-94 crash st. michael - 2021.10.19

I-94 closed westbound after 'serious crash' in St. Michael

That side of the highway is expected to be closed for at least a few hours.

House for sale

The crazy Twin Cities housing market is showing signs of slowing down

Agents are seeing fewer multiple offers and no inspections are less prevalent.

Ben Simmons

Simmons' reunion with 76ers lasts mere days, chance for Wolves?

Woj says the Sixers remain "steadfast" in their plans for Simmons.

mitchell ottinger

Sub teacher involved in 'sextortion' of more than 10 minors pleads guilty

Some of the minors he knew from the school district where he worked.

flickr ice castles new brighton 2020 - Greg Gjerdingen

The Ice Castles, a winter favorite, are coming back to the Twin Cities

The popular attraction was canceled last winter due to COVID.

joey meatballs

4 new vendors coming to Rosedale's POTLUCK food hall

Three restaurants and a VR company are opening soon.

flickr - Lorie Shaull - Line 3 pipeline Palisade July 2021

Enbridge misses deadline to fix its groundwater blunder

The company had 30 days to stop the leak it caused by not following its submitted plans.

wikimedia commons - the beach boys 2019 - joergens.mi

Beach Boys bringing 2021 holiday tour to Minnesota

The iconic band's "Holiday Harmonies" tour stops at Treasure Island just before the new year.

pixabay - us supreme court

MN, WI attorneys general push SCOTUS to block to Texas abortion law

They say the law is in "direct contravention of nearly a half century of binding precedent."

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.