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Week in Review: March 20-24
By Mike Cook

Omnibusfest was in full swing this week as numerous House finance committees unveiled their all-encompassing omnibus bills: agriculture, education, environment, higher education, jobs and economic development, public safety, taxes, and transportat...

Public weighs in on reinsurance, but no finalized plan this week
By Ricky Campbell

With separate proposals from each legislative chamber pining for approval, lawmakers on Friday began their work to reconcile differences in a state-based reinsurance program they believe will help reduce the cost of insurance premiums across the i...

Omnibus education finance bill approved during contentious hearing
By Nick Longworth

After receiving sharp criticism from Gov. Mark Dayton, an education finance proposal likely to promote plenty of debate has taken another step in its journey. Approved as amended by the House Education Finance Committee Friday, the omnibus edu...

Ag committee approves omnibus agriculture finance bill
By Jonathan Mohr

After adding an amendment meant to increase farm safety, the House Agriculture Finance Committee approved the omnibus agriculture finance bill Friday. Sponsored by Rep. Rod Hamilton (R-Mountain Lake), HF895, as amended, would appropriate more ...

Soccer stadium help attached to omnibus tax bill heading to Ways and Means
By Lee Ann Schutz

The House omnibus tax bill grew in scope Friday with a couple of amendments — one that would provide some tax exemptions for the proposed St. Paul soccer stadium, and another that would increase the education tax credit to apply to private school ...

Omnibus environment bill clears first hurdle
By Jonathan Mohr

The House Environment and Natural Resources Policy and Finance committee approved the omnibus environment bill Friday morning after several hours of debate spanning two days.   After taking testimony on HF888 – which would appropriate over $80...

Omnibus jobs and energy bill mixes shrimp farming, nuclear payments
By Chris Steller

Minnesota could see small-to-sizable shifts in how government is organized and what it spends money on in the areas of energy and economic development over the next two years. The House Job Growth and Energy Affordability Committee began work ...

Omnibus transportation bill starts its drive toward House Floor
By Jonathan Avise

The House Transportation Finance Committee approved an omnibus transportation bill Thursday that the legislation’s Republican sponsor says marks a critical step forward for road and bridge funding in the state.

Higher ed finance bill offers funding increases, debt help for students
By Nick Longworth

Updated 7:08 p.m. with committee action Focused on investing in the future and helping students receive an affordable education, legislators are looking to ensure funding stays stable for post-secondary institutions across the state. HF247...

Simplified reimbursement measures sought for short-term crisis stays
By Tory Cooney

For someone undergoing a mental health crisis, a safe place to stay while getting help and deciding what to do next can makes all the difference, Rep. Tony Albright (R-Prior Lake) told the House Health and Human Services Finance Committee Thursday...

Omnibus tax bill priorities lay out $1.3 billion in tax relief
By Lee Ann Schutz

If a tax bill is to be enacted this session, it is apparent that a lot of compromise will be needed to align House interests with those of the governor. Revenue Commissioner Cynthia Bauerly clearly laid out to the House Taxes Committee Thursda...

Aging voting equipment could get $14 million makeover
By Ricky Campbell

After the federal government purchased new voting equipment for everyone following the 2000 election through the Help America Vote Act, equipment necessary for a basic civic engagement is rapidly deteriorating.

Omnibus environment bill spares EQB, but makes significant changes
By Jonathan Mohr

The 14-member board that helps oversee environmental permitting and regulatory compliance would survive under the provisions of an omnibus bill now under consideration, but its composition would change significantly, as would its authority. Th...

Omnibus public safety bill calls for more spending; gun, protester changes
By Mike Cook

The omnibus public safety bill calls for more funding headed to state’s courts and Corrections and Public Safety departments; peace officers would be able to carry guns at a sporting venue; and penalties would be toughened for protesters who block freeways.

Proposals for e-filing state taxes, early education director merge into one bill
By Chris Steller

A plan to create a new system allowing individuals to file their state income tax returns online for free, as well as create a government position to oversee early education and development is headed to the House Floor. After reviewing provisi...

Metro officials, transit agencies warn of big setbacks under GOP transportation plan
By Jonathan Avise

Metropolitan Transit officials and advocates voiced their opposition on Wednesday to the day-old House Republican transportation plan, warning it would force deep cuts in Metropolitan Council bus service and unfairly restrict local officials from ...

Omnibus Ed finance bill offers opportunity in some areas, closes doors in others
By Nick Longworth

After carefully considering Gov. Mark Dayton’s budget recommendations earlier in session, education policymakers are looking to expand the Legislature’s commitment to early education while also closing the doors on two of its struggling schools. ...

MNsure repeal revisited, in the running for inclusion in omnibus bill
By Tory Cooney

MNsure was too big of a project that was rolled out too quickly and doesn’t do what it promised, Rep. Matt Dean (R-Dellwood) told the Health and Human Services Finance Committee Wednesday. HF10, sponsored by Dean, would repeal the 3-year-old s...

Tax relief aimed at young and old, GOP leaders say
By Lee Ann Schutz

Targeting the middle class, House Republicans announced their intent to put forward a $1.35 billion package of tax relief for the 2018-19 biennium. Calling it a work in progress, House Taxes Committee Chair, Rep. Greg Davids (R-Preston) said r...

Hearing begins on omnibus agriculture finance bill
By Jonathan Mohr

Farmers who want more say in water quality regulations may be pleased by a provision in the omnibus bill the House Agriculture Finance Committee began to consider Wednesday. Sponsored by Rep. Rod Hamilton (R-Mountain Lake), HF895 would establi...

Dayton wants a new transportation bill, criticizes reinsurance proposal
By Ricky Campbell

DFL Gov. Mark Dayton on Wednesday urged the Republican-controlled Legislature to authorize $105 million for stalled infrastructure projects, criticized lawmakers’ plans to fund a state-based reinsurance program and demanded responses from insuranc...

Biomass contracts could be rejiggered
By Chris Steller

Biomass energy contracts that date to a 1994 law mandating renewable energy could be renegotiated or terminated under HF759, sponsored by Rep. Jason Metsa (DFL-Virginia). The bill would let Xcel Energy ask the Public Utilities Commission for a...

House GOP lays out $6 billion map for road and bridge construction
By Jonathan Avise

House Republicans on Tuesday unveiled an omnibus transportation bill that would lean heavily on General Fund dollars and borrowing to pour roughly $2 billion into road and bridge projects across the state over the next two years. Christened th...

Recent bomb threats spark call to help fund security grants
By Mike Cook

In the past couple of months, more than 150 bomb threats have targeted Jewish centers across the country, including in St. Louis Park and St. Paul. “In my almost 20-year career, I have never seen anything quite like the environment we are curr...

More insurance protection sought for foster families
By Tory Cooney

Children traumatized from neglect and abuse bring a range of survival mechanisms with them into a foster home, some of which can be incredibly destructive, Rep. Peggy Bennett (R-Albert Lea) told the House Health and Human Services Finance Committe...

Committee holds over plan to house prisoners at Appleton facility
By Mike Cook

Since 2010, a privately owned prison has sat vacant in Appleton. Owned and maintained by CoreCivic, formerly Corrections Corporation of America, the potential state use or operation of the 1,600-bed facility continues to pit local officials wh...

Campaign finance board could lose all rulemaking authority
By Chris Steller

The Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board doesn’t often make rules on its own. You could count the number of times they’ve done so over the past 21 years on one hand. Under HF2419, sponsored by Rep. Tim O’Driscoll (R-Sartell), the board...

House property tax proposal leaves cities behind, but helps business
By Lee Ann Schutz

House Republicans are proposing over $302 million in property tax relief over the 2018-19 biennium – but it’s far from a done deal. HF603, as amended, was laid out Monday for the House Property Tax and Local Government Finance Division. Public...

School bus stop arm violations could become pricier
By Jonathan Avise

Violating school bus stop arm laws could get more expensive under a bill approved Monday by the House Transportation Finance Committee. Rep. Dean Urdahl (R-Grove City) sponsors HF380 that would raise the minimum fine for failing to stop for a ...

Electricity generated from rooftop solar panels could count toward state goal
By Chris Steller

Two electrical utility companies in northern Minnesota may be able to count larger rooftop solar energy installations toward a state mandate. Current law says a fraction of electricity sold by public utilities -- what Rep. Nolan West (R-...

Minnesota Index: Aging in Minnesota
By Tory Cooney

Number of Minnesotans in the 2010 census who were at least 65 years old          683,000                 Projected number in 2020            965,000                 Projected number in 2030, in millions     1.26 Percent of the projecte...

House Republicans outline $46.3 billion spending plan
By Ricky Campbell

House Republicans on Monday released their proposed budget for the upcoming biennium, a $46.3 billion spending plan that includes increases for health and human services, education, roads and bridges and $1.35 billion reduction in tax collections....

'Starting Line': In the top 10 percent? You're in
By HPIS Staff

In this week's "Starting Line," we find out why Rep. Regina Barr (R-Inver Grove Heights) is sponsoring a bill she hopes will help more high school graduates get into the state college or university they want to attend.

Week in Review: March 13-17
By Mike Cook

Two committee deadlines are down and the third — when committees must act favorably on major appropriation and finance bills — is two weeks away. A key benchmark toward reaching that final deadline took place Friday afternoon when Gov. Mark Da...

More money for pre-K education, savings are priorities in gov’s revised budget
By Ricky Campbell

After his administration announced late last month a larger-than-expected surplus, Gov. Mark Dayton released his adjusted budget numbers Friday that continues to prioritize pre-kindergarten, but braces for possible changes coming from Washington, ...

‘Snow angel’ grants would provide $4 million for ski areas
By Chris Steller

Minnesota’s 18 ski facilities could look forward to something they badly need, and it’s not snow. Sponsored by Rep. Barb Haley (R-Red Wing), HF2367 would create a $4 million competitive grant program to help ski area operators pay for expansio...

Omnibus elections bill calls for calendar shifts
By Chris Steller

You could cast a state primary ballot in June. You could count on local special elections falling on only four calendar days. Your “I Voted” sticker might arrive in the mail. Those are three changes to Minnesota election law proposed in the om...

Cities make case for more local street funding
By Jonathan Avise

Local officials have repeatedly made their case before House lawmakers this session for more state assistance in funding local road repairs. Most of the discussion has focused on the state’s smallest cities, with municipalities under populatio...

Teacher seniority no guarantee of job retention under bill that passes House
By Nick Longworth

Due to the fluid nature of school enrollment and funding, teachers can face unexpected layoffs. Teachers can be recalled to available positions based on seniority, and the order in which they were placed on leave. Some contend this rehiring cr...

Advocates call for more cash assistance to help families in need
By Tory Cooney

An increase in temporary cash assistance for families in need coupled with a controversial delete-all amendment that would significantly decrease that amount, led to stiff partisan debate in the House Health and Human Services Finance Committee Th...

State’s IT service needs more consolidation, $3 million in cuts proposed
By Ricky Campbell

Minnesota IT Services, the state’s centralized computer and technology service, would face a requirement to finish previously designated consolidation efforts, along with $3 million in personnel cuts and greater legislative oversight under a bill ...

Increased data sharing sought among government agencies
By Chris Steller

There could be more sharing of data between school districts and county corrections and social services departments. HF2245, sponsored by Rep. Peggy Scott (R-Andover), would make several changes to the state’s Government Data Practices Act con...

LCCMR bill moves forward despite substantial changes
By Jonathan Mohr

The amount of money meant to benefit Minnesota’s environment and natural resources remained largely the same, but how that money would be spent was the subject of sharp disagreement among members of the House Environment and Natural Resources Poli...

Funding a terrorist act deserves a felony charge, bill says
By Mike Cook

In a world where terroristic acts are seemingly plentiful, Rep. Keith Franke (R-St. Paul Park) sponsors a bill he hopes would detract someone from being part of such a deed. HF1475, as amended, would establish a felony offense for someone who ...

Political workers would not qualify for dislocated worker aid
By Chris Steller

People who lose their jobs working for political organizations can now get assistance through the state’s Dislocated Worker Program. HF1394, sponsored by Rep. Kelly Fenton (R-Woodbury), would remove such workers, including trackers and other c...

Proposed post-secondary programs for students with disabilities offer opportunity
By Nick Longworth

Students with intellectual disabilities could see increased post-secondary opportunities in coming years. Under HF2153, sponsored by Rep. Brian Daniels (R-Faribault), Minnesota State would offer academic programs for students with intellectual...

‘Deeper type’ of financial audit on CTIB, Met Council draws Otto’s ire
By Ricky Campbell

Rep. Linda Runbeck (R-Circle Pines) is proposing “a much deeper type” of financial oversight on two regional transportation agencies despite objections by officials of the targeted Met Council, some DFLers and State Auditor Rebecca Otto, who claim...

Fees strain middle class families with children who are disabled
By Tory Cooney

Children with disabilities and families that make too much money to qualify for Medical Assistance can still receive MA services, but their parents have to pay monthly fees based on income. And those fees have exceeded what many middle-class famil...

Road weight limit exemption sought for ambulances
By Mike Cook

When minutes can mean the difference between life and death, it is imperative that an ambulance quickly reach an ailing person. In parts of the state, at certain times of the year, the shortest route to the scene could be an illegal way. S...

Not just a metro problem — money sought to target central Minnesota sex traffickers
By Mike Cook

Sponsored by Rep. Tama Theis (R-St. Cloud), HF1932 would appropriate $600,000 in the 2018-19 biennium to expand enforcement and victim advocacy services of the Central Minnesota Sex Trafficking Task Force.

Howe pleads case for ‘painful’ state budgeting process
By Ricky Campbell

The point-person overseeing state government’s budget-crafting process told lawmakers on Wednesday that drawing up the governor’s spending priorities and piecing them together with agency heads for practical implementation takes about eight months...

Special license plate would 'honor those who have fallen'
By Jonathan Avise

Minnesota may offer a specialty license plate that would honor law enforcement officials killed in the line of duty and help raise money for a group that supports their loved ones in the aftermath. Rep. Duane Quam (R-Byron) sponsors HF678 that...

Jumbo shrimp farms touted as new agriculture industry
By Jonathan Mohr

Corn in the fields, cows in the pasture and artificial harbors filled with millions of gallons of 86-degree saltwater raising “the best tasting shrimp the world has ever seen.” That vision of Minnesota’s rural landscape may be closer to realit...

Push to find budget savings means mid-level agency numbers could dwindle
By Chris Steller

Starting in 2019, commissioners at two state agencies could potentially have less help. Current statute allows four deputy commissioners each at the Commerce Department and the Department of Employment and Economic Development. HF1005, spo...

Some wanting to marry find they’d be barred from a state program
By Tory Cooney

The federal program that funds Minnesota’s Family Investment Program is intended to promote two-parent families, but MFIP actually discourages low-income couples from getting married, Rep. Peggy Flanagan (DFL-St. Louis Park) told the House Health ...

Lawmakers seek solution as more electric vehicles mean less gas tax revenue
By Jonathan Avise

Minnesota’s roads are seeing a growing number of electric vehicles on them — and that’s a good thing, says Rep. Pat Garofalo (R-Farmington). But, he concedes, it’s a problem, too. That’s because electric cars use no motor vehicle fuel — a good...

Mandatory Minnesota State student activity fees could be no more
By Nick Longworth

Activity fees can put a noticeable dent in a collegian’s budget throughout the course of a full school year. “Students in Minnesota are struggling to pay student fees, which are growing to hundreds of dollars. I don’t think it’s fair,” Rep. Dr...

Minnesotans could cast ballots marked ‘Challenged’
By Chris Steller

Some ballots dropping into ballot boxes at polling places across Minnesota could carry a new word: “Challenged.” HF2039, sponsored by Rep. Cindy Pugh (R-Chanhassen), would create that status for voters registering to vote on Election Day whose...

Group residential homes seek more funding to support services
By Tory Cooney

Cindy Brown arrived on the doorstep of Katherine’s House in the summer of 2016 with nothing but a laundry basket, a suitcase of clothes and a life devastated by addiction. The board and lodge facility in Eveleth gives women struggling with mental ...

Student concurrent enrollment programs seek equal footing
By Nick Longworth

Lawmakers want to guarantee high school students considering post-secondary concurrent enrollment courses have every available opportunity to succeed. “We’re trying to ensure students have the opportunity to earn college credits while in high ...

State employees could opt out of state’s insurance coverage
By Ricky Campbell

If state employees want to decline their state-funded health insurance coverage, Rep. Steve Drazkowski (R-Mazeppa) thinks they should have that opportunity. Drazkowski sponsors HF1030, which would give eligible state employees who can prove th...

Making Minnesota better for veterans: Chair says ‘nonpolitical’ approach is best
By Ricky Campbell

The House Veterans Affairs Division wrapped up its work for the session Monday in the only way it knows how: by giving thanks and credit where it’s due. Rep. Bob Dettmer (R-Forest Lake), the division chair, read two resolutions thanking two me...

Sheriffs could refer more inmates for local mental health services
By Chris Steller

When screening indicates a county jail inmate may have a high degree of mental illness, the sheriff can make a referral to the local social services agency. HF1331, sponsored by Rep. Nick Zerwas (R-Elk River), would let local corrections offic...

Ag committee approves farm safety bill
By Jonathan Mohr

Although 2 percent of Minnesota’s labor force works in agriculture, 30 percent of the state’s workplace deaths in 2014 took place in agricultural jobs. That fact is contained in a report issued earlier this year after the 2016 Legislature dire...

Governor, lawmakers agree families need help with care costs — but how much?
By Lee Ann Schutz

Both the governor and Legislature agree that working families need help paying for child and dependent care costs – it’s a matter of in what form, how much and to whom? This year’s recrafted-from-last-year’s-dependent-care-credit-proposal was ...

House passes reinsurance program aimed at stabilizing individual market
By Ricky Campbell

The House passed a bill Monday that would establish a reinsurance program intended to help stabilize rising insurance premiums in the individual marketplace by providing health carriers a collective financial cushion. Approved on a 78-53 vote,...

Patchwork of local policies has lawmaker saying ‘no’ to their state aid
By Lee Ann Schutz

Communities and counties that don’t toe the line when it comes to certain policies held dear to some legislators would see their state local government aid reduced or eliminated. The parade of policy-driven penalty bills, sponsored by Rep. Ste...

Minnesota Zoo seeks $3.75 million in Legacy funding
By Jonathan Mohr

Already one of the largest zoos in the country with 5,300 animals and nearly 1.3 million visitors each year, the Minnesota Zoo is working to expand the programs it offers and seeking $3.75 million from the state to help with these efforts. The...

Utilities would pay property taxes based on plants’ output
By Chris Steller

Communities that rely on property taxes from electrical plants would see more stable revenue from a proposed change to how facilities’ market values are determined. HF1985, sponsored by Rep. Greg Davids (R-Preston), would set values based on t...

Minnesota Index: Shining a light on government data
By Ricky Campbell

Minnesota statute requiring government “make and preserve” data: 15.17 Year the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act was established: 1974 Year Congress passed the Freedom of Information Act: 1966 Number of votes in U.S. House for/ ...

Starting Line: Gun violence prevention bill hopes to boost community safety
By HPIS Staff

Rep. Fue Lee (DFL-Mpls) sponsors HF1678, a bill that would establish the so-called “Taylor Hayden Gun Violence Prevention Act.” This week on "Starting Line" we learn why Lee sponsors this bill and hopes it raises gun violence prevention awareness.

Week in Review: March 6-10
By Mike Cook

Friday’s first committee deadline meant a frantic week in the House. For many committees and divisions, their normal meeting time wasn’t enough leading to members often gathering after dark to finish their business. Next week looks to be simil...

If it’s donuts-to-political-dollars, signs would be required
By Chris Steller

A mini-donut booth at the Minnesota State Fair could have to let customers know that money they spend there could end up in political coffers. HF2196, sponsored by Rep. Randy Jessup (R-Shoreview), would require that political committees sellin...

A Hmong-Lao veterans day called to recognize efforts in ‘Secret War’
By Ricky Campbell

For the more than 66,000 Hmong living in Minnesota, May 14 is a day of remembrance, reflection, mourning and celebration. On May 14, 1975, Laotian military base Long Tieng fell to the North Vietnamese, leaving the Hmong and Lao people, who had...

Assistive voting devices could print paper ballots
By Chris Steller

Voters using a touchscreen at their polling place could have their votes printed on a paper ballot. Just how similar ballots printed from an assistive-voting device should be to ordinary paper ballots was a matter of discussion Friday by the H...

Minnesota’s smallest cities seek state partner for road funding
By Jonathan Avise

The cost of maintaining local roads is an increasingly difficult burden to bear for many of Minnesota’s smallest cities. A bill held over Thursday by the House Transportation Finance Committee for possible inclusion in an omnibus bill could throw those communities a lifeline.

More support could help teens with mental health problems
By Tory Cooney

Adolescence is challenging enough without having a mental illness or an emotional behavioral disorder, Rep. Dave Baker (R-Willmar) told the House Health and Human Services Reform Committee Thursday. It can become even more difficult when livin...

More funding sought for tuition costs for military, vets homes expenses
By Ricky Campbell

The state’s military personnel scholarships, veterans programs and cemeteries are becoming more and more expensive to Minnesota taxpayers. Lawmakers on Thursday continued sorting through Dayton’s budget recommendations for the Department of Mi...

Committee struggles with 'what is a meeting, anyway?'
By Chris Steller

Government meetings in Minnesota are open to the public. But what counts as a meeting? HF1105, sponsored by Rep. Jeff Howe (R-Rockville), would add a definition to the opening section of the state’s Open Meeting Law. A meeting would be defined...

E-12 education policy omnibus bill takes shape
By Nick Longworth

Taking a deliberate step toward easing burdened school districts from more requirements, lawmakers are focused on education policies that would refine existing programs and empower local districts to succeed. Sponsored by House Education Innov...

Agriculture omnibus policy bill goes to full House
By Jonathan Mohr

Farmers who want to participate in the state’s debt mediation program would have to meet a higher financial threshold to do so under a provision of an omnibus policy bill under consideration by the House Agriculture Policy Committee Thursday. ...

Children in foster care could be offered an attorney
By Chris Steller

Children as young as 10 who have been removed from their homes have the right to an attorney to represent their wishes in the foster care system. “I wish I could say that is happening all the time,” said Rep. Ron Kresha (R-Little Falls). K...

School bus trespass penalty proposed for unauthorized persons trying to board
By Mike Cook

A bill to create a trespass penalty when an unauthorized person boards a bus on its route or otherwise in operation with students on board and refuses to leave when asked to do so was held over by a House committee.

Sunday liquor sales seen as way to fund treatment programs
By Tory Cooney

Programs to treat and prevent alcohol dependency need additional financial support to meet the needs of Minnesotans, said Dana Farley, an alcohol and drug policy specialist for the Department of Health. HF1091 aims to help.

New task force could examine enhancements to Metro Mobility program
By Jonathan Avise

Could Uber and Lyft drivers help the Metropolitan Council’s paratransit service serve its riders more efficiently? That’s one question a proposed task force could be charged with finding out. HF1745, sponsored by Rep. Jon Koznick (R-Lakeville)...

Omnibus liquor bill divides small businesses, committee members
By Ricky Campbell

A number of proposed changes to the state’s liquor laws were approved by the House Commerce and Regulatory Reform Committee Wednesday, but not without partisan divide and concerns from traditional liquor advocates.

Use of deadly force in self-defense debated in House committee hearing
By Mike Cook

Making it easier for law-abiding Minnesotans to understand self-defense is the goal of a controversial bill. Sponsored by Rep. Jim Nash (R-Waconia), HF238, as amended, would provide Minnesotans greater rights to use deadly force while defendin...

Nest eggs could count in determining basic needs
By Chris Steller

Each year, the Department of Employment and Economic Development puts a dollar amount on what it costs Minnesotans to meet their basic needs. Not included are savings, vacations, restaurant meals, tobacco or entertainment. HF227, sponsored...

Prevention initiatives could stop spread of AIDS
By Tory Cooney

Every year, nearly 300 more HIV infections are identified in Minnesota, adding $120 million in annual medical costs to the state, Rep. Tina Liebling (DFL-Rochester) told the House Health and Human Services Finance Committee Wednesday. Those co...

Equine group asks state to pony up to help veterans
By Ricky Campbell

An equine program designed to help veterans suffering from PTSD is seeking government funding through a proposal sponsored by Rep. Paul Rosenthal (DFL-Edina). HF1563 would provide a $40,000 grant, administered by the Department of Veterans Aff...

House committee debates gun bill aimed at eliminating permits to carry
By Mike Cook

Under current law, a person may not carry a pistol in a public place unless they are in possession of a permit to carry. Sponsored by Rep. Jim Nash (R-Waconia), HF188, as amended, would, in part, eliminate the permit requirement.

Ag committee considers funding to make E15 gasoline more accessible
By Jonathan Mohr

To promote the sale of biofuel, lawmakers have set a statutory goal that 30 percent of the total gasoline sold or offered for sale in Minnesota be biofuel by the year 2025. To try and achieve that goal, the House Agriculture Finance Committee ...

Telemedicine could help more people in crises far from help
By Tory Cooney

In areas with few mental health care providers, but lots of people in need, telemedicine can help meet the demand in an affordable way. But those services aren’t helping as many people as they could, due to limitations on services covered by Medic...

Sex offender, child pornography sentences could increase
By Mike Cook

Late last year, Rep. Matt Grossell (R-Clearbrook) received a request from a local law enforcement member to toughen penalties for sex offenders and adults who prey on children. A plan to do was held over Tuesday by the House Public Safety and ...

Dayton's budget includes metro tax aimed at stabilizing transit funding
By Jonathan Avise

Gov. Mark Dayton has again recommended a half-cent, metro-wide transit-dedicated tax in an effort to provide more stable, long-term funding for expanding mass transit in the Twin Cities metropolitan area. The governor’s 2018-2019 budget propos...

High cancer rates among firefighters need answer to the question 'why?'
By Tory Cooney

Steve Shapira was serving as a St. Paul fire captain when he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma in 2012. The veteran firefighter didn’t smoke and didn’t have a family history of the disease that eventually forced him to retire, but his profes...

Sunday liquor sales — it's the law
By Ricky Campbell

Gov. Mark Dayton signed into law Tuesday a bipartisan proposal allowing liquor stores to open on Sundays after it received overwhelming support in the Legislature and a growing public demand for more options in purchasing alcohol. “This new la...

Grants sought to provide mentor support for low-performing students
By Nick Longworth

Continued mentor program funding could provide extra support for continually absent and low-performing students. HF268, sponsored by Rep. Tama Theis (R-St. Cloud), would appropriate $2.5 million per year to the Sanneh Foundation to hire and tr...

Legacy funding bill begins its House journey
By Jonathan Mohr

More than $300 million of potential Legacy Fund appropriations started their journey through the Legislature Tuesday. Sponsored by Rep. Paul Torkelson (R-Hanska), HF1731 would appropriate money from two of the four Legacy Funds – created by th...

Omnibus E-12 education policy bill aims to ‘do no harm’
By Nick Longworth

Lawmakers eyeing education policy this session are focused on what has worked in the past while also offering future proposals that could “do no harm.” “We tried to present a proposal that would have meat in it, and yet say to our school distr...

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