State Legislature

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Omnibus Education Finance Bill with Nearly $157 Million in New Spending Passed by House

From the Minnesota House of Representatives Public Information Services:

A plan that would dedicate nearly $157 million in additional spending to the state’s E-12 budget and implement numerous policy reforms that Republican leaders say aim to improve the quality of classroom instruction for students received a contentious “thumbs up” on the House Floor Saturday. As expected, the debate leading up the 69-61 vote to pass HF844 — the omnibus education finance bill — was largely drawn along party lines. The bill now goes to the Senate where Sen. Chuck Wiger (DFL-Maplewood) is the sponsor. Sponsored by Rep. Jenifer Loon (R-Eden Prairie), the backbone of the bill includes a 0.6 percent increase to the per-pupil basic funding formula each year in the 2016-17 biennium and devotes many of its proposed reforms to closing the achievement gap. Those provisions range from a $30 million increase in early learning scholarship dollars for low-income families to reforms to teacher licensure and seniority-based layoff policies. Continue Reading →

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Sen. Housley’s Bill to Protect Corrections Workers Injured on the Job Moves Forward

 

About three years ago, Dave Kampa, an investigator at Stillwater Prison with more than 30 years of experience in corrections, was violently attacked while breaking up a gang fight. After being struck in the head, he fell, hit his head on a bar and said he doesn’t remember a thing after that moment. As a result of the attack, Kampa suffered a severe brain injury that left him permanently disabled in the line of duty. Unable to work, Kampa retired. Kampa’s health care costs have since skyrocketed from $183/month to more than $1,600 a month. After hearing that story, Sens.Karin Housley (R-St. Continue Reading →

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Medical Marijuana Legalization Bill Advances in House Committee

 

By Andrea Parrot, writer for the Minnesota House of Representatives Session Daily:

A number of medical marijuana supporters shared tears and stories of severe child epilepsy, muscular dystrophy, cancer and other serious conditions Tuesday night. Medical marijuana, they said, either has helped them or could help them. Angie and Josh Weaver believe a form of medical marijuana low in the addictive component of the drug could help their 7-year-old daughter, Amelia, who is diagnosed with Dravet Syndrome. The disease causes frequent seizures and has left her unable to communicate and has affected her cognitive ability. Traditional medications have not worked to control the seizures, they said. 

“We’re just one of the many, many families in Minnesota that need and want this for our child, for our loved one,” said Angie Weaver. 

The House Health and Human Services Policy Committee approved HF1818, sponsored by Rep. Carly Melin (DFL-Hibbing) on a split voice-vote and sent it to the House Government Operations Committee. Continue Reading →

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The Next Frontier For Liquor: Microdistilleries

 

By Sonja Hegman, writer for the Minnesota House of Representatives Session Daily:

Liquor was the name of the game on Tuesday in the House Commerce and Consumer Protection Finance and Policy Committee. Eight bills were heard from allowing on-sale wine and malt-liquor licenses for professional junior hockey games in Richfield to reinstating sacramental wine sales by religious stores and expanding microdistillery sales.  All bills were laid over for possible inclusion in an omnibus liquor bill. One of the bills, HF2200/ SF2014, sponsored by Rep. Joe Hoppe (R-Chaska) andSenate President Sandy Pappas (DFL-St. Paul), would expand microdistillery sales to include mirroring existing taproom licenses by allowing for a microdistillery to operate a cocktail room if local governing bodies choose to issue the license. “We’re asking that you update the law to be current with modern times,” said Shanelle Montana of the Minnesota Distillers Guild. Continue Reading →

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Relief On the Way for Families Hit by High Costs of Propane

 

Low-income Minnesotans may no longer have to worry about running out of heat this winter. The House and the Senate have both suspended their rules to take up an emergency bill that will provide $20 million from the General Fund to LIHEAP, a program that provides energy assistance to low-income residents. The bill now goes to Gov. Mark Dayton for his signature. “People in outstate Minnesota are suffering and their low income heating assistance help is running out. There are children and seniors sitting in cold homes in Greater Minnesota – it is a crisis. Continue Reading →

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