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Protest on a freeway? Public safety committee approves tougher penalties
By Mike Cook
John Thompson provides emotional testimony to the House Public Safety and Security Policy and Finance Committee Feb. 22 against a pair of bills that would, in part, increase penalties for freeway protesters. Photo by Paul Battaglia

Aiming to ensure legal protests is one goal of a couple bills that others view as stifling free speech and attacking the rights of minorities.

Protesters disrupted light-rail service at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport in December 2015. Eight months later protesters blocked Interstate 94 in St. Paul to protest the shooting of Philando Castile, a black man killed by a police officer in Falcon Heights.

In each instance, the protest took place where it is illegal to do so.

“Some people believe incorrectly that they have a right to camp out on a freeway to impede traffic and to bring everything to a halt,” said Rep. Nick Zerwas (R-Elk River). “If you believe it’s a First Amendment right to block a freeway, you’re mistaken. That is against the law already.”

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Legislators elect four to University of Minnesota Board of Regents
By Nick Longworth

A vote by the Legislature Wednesday filled the University of Minnesota’s four vacant Board of Regents positions.

Canterbury Park hoping for ‘lights on’ funding
By Ricky Campbell

When DFL Gov. Mark Dayton and Republican lawmakers couldn’t agree on state spending terms in 2011, the 19-day government shutdown put some 19,000 workers out of a job, including...

A weighty question: bigger trucks on the road good or bad?
By Jonathan Avise

Approved Wednesday in the House Transportation and Regional Governance Policy Committee, HF1358 would create a special permit that increases weight limits for s6- or 7-axle trucks hauling construction materials.

Life insurance ‘the way it should be’ – not for terrorists
By Ricky Campbell

Before Syed Farook went on a shooting rampage in San Bernardino, Calif., in December 2015 and killed 14 people and injured 22, he made sure his life insurance policies worth $27...

Grants could expand mental health care for children at schools
By Tory Cooney

A plan to offer appropriate $4 million in school-linked mental health grants was held over Wednesday by a House committee.

Governor’s tax bill calls for $79 million in changes
By Lee Ann Schutz

Many provisions in this year’s gubernatorial tax bill were part of the 2016 bill that was vetoed due to a drafting error.

Bill would give child care red tape a tug
By Chris Steller

Life could get easier for parents who juggle changing work schedules, children who cope with shifting child care arrangements and child care providers who struggle to get by while getting paid with federal funds.

Seeds planted for ag teacher grants program
By Jonathan Mohr

House Agriculture Policy Committee approved a bill that would establish an agricultural educator grant program to pay teachers for summer work.

Time-off options critical to those providing homecare for loved ones
By Tory Cooney

Not all communities have adult day care programs and senior centers. Even in communities with these services, they may be unaffordable or unequipped to care for people with memo...

Online tax filing? Study would examine the easier option
By Ricky Campbell

If death and taxes are the only guarantees in life, Rep. Cheryl Youakim (DFL-Hopkins) hopes a $175,000 study would help filers delay the former in making the latter a bit easier...

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Priority Dailies

Dayton’s budget proposal prioritizes health, education and transportation
By Ricky Campbell

Gov. Mark Dayton on Tuesday released a two-year, $45.8 billion biennial budget proposal that includes an expansion of MinnesotaCare, increased education spending and an increase...

Dayton proposes $1.5 billion bonding bill
By Jonathan Avise

Governor urges lawmakers to pass a big capital investment bill during budget-setting year; House Speaker has expressed doubt over bonding this session

Session opens with a number of unresolved issues
By HPIS Staff

It was a day of selfies, swearings-in and standing ovations as the House opened the 2017­-18 biennial session Tuesday.

Committee assignments announced for 2017-18 session
By Jonathan Avise

The 27 committees, subcommittees and divisions that House Republican leadership named in late November are at the core of the legislative process.

House committee structure and chairs named for upcoming biennium
By Mike Cook

House Republican leadership has announced the committee structure and chairs for the 90th legislative biennium scheduled to convene Jan. 3, 2017. The plan is for 27 committe...

Republicans affirm Daudt, Peppin leadership; DFL chooses Hortman
By Lee Ann Schutz

Current House Speaker Kurt Daudt and Majority Leader Joyce Peppin retained their leadership positions Friday for the 90th legislative session scheduled to begin Jan. 3, 2017. DFLers chose Rep. Melissa Hortman as minority leader.

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