ST. PAUL -- Hopes for legalizing recreational marijuana in Minnesota came to a halt in a state Senate panel. Chasms emerged as gun control and abortion came up ahead of a legislative deadline. Millions of dollars of fraud were reported in the state's child care assistance program and legislators split on how to address it. As the Minnesota Legislature took up some of the most controversial proposals of the legislative session, divisions emerged between the Republican-led Senate and the Democrat-led House of Representatives.
ST. PAUL — A Minnesota Senate panel on Thursday, March 14, voted to outlaw abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy, paving the way for the proposal to advance in the Legislature. The bill would ban abortions on women who are past 20 weeks in their pregnancy except in cases of possible death or serious physical harm. Risk of substantial and irreversible psychological or emotional conditions would not be included.
ST. PAUL -- As state lawmakers took up their first conversations about re-writing state law to stop the spread of a deadly disease in deer, cervid farmers said they worried they would become the "villain" in the debates. Members of the House Agriculture and Food Finance and Policy Division seemed to agree that the state needs to address chronic wasting disease, a fatal neurological disease in deer, moose, caribou and elk. But they split on how best to do that.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota couples considering divorce would be able to bypass the courts under a proposal advancing through the state Legislature. The proposal would give married couples the option to set the terms of their divorce and file for marital dissolution through a cooperative divorce program, which would be housed under the Minnesota Bureau of Mediation Services.
ST. PAUL — The lone counselor tasked with providing free mental health services to farmers and their families through the Minnesota state college system just got a step closer to getting some help. The Minnesota House of Representatives on Monday, March 4, unanimously advanced a bill that would appropriate $100,000 to boost mental health counseling for farmers and their families as well as for farm advocate services and farmer-lender mediators.
ST. PAUL — Hundreds of gun control supporters and opponents packed into a Minnesota Capitol hearing room and overflow spaces Wednesday, Feb. 27, ahead of scheduled testimony on a pair of bills aimed at adding background checks for firearm purchases and allowing "red flag" removal provisions. Tensions were high and testimony was expected to run late into the night as the proposals came up for consideration in the House Public Safety and Criminal Justice Reform Finance and Policy Division.
ST. PAUL -- Plans to make historic investments in Greater Minnesota could sail through fights at the Capitol over contentious pieces of Gov. Tim Walz's spending blueprint. Some of the central tenets like a 20 cents per gallon gas tax hike and decision to keep in place a 2 percent tax on medical providers faced instant opposition from Minnesota Republicans when the Democratic-Farmer-Labor governor presented the proposal on Tuesday, Feb. 19.
ST. PAUL — Republicans in the Minnesota Senate got a new edge this week with a special election seat pickup. And the win shook up the conversation about a possible gas tax to fund improvements to roads and bridges at the Statehouse. A group aiming to restore voting rights to felons after they finish their prison sentences rallied at the Capitol then learned they'd face a tough road forward. The clock ticked down for Gov. Tim Walz to decide whether he'd pick up an appeal blocking the Enbridge Line 3 construction project or let it move forward.
ST. PAUL—Police officers, firefighters and other active duty law enforcement and medical officials diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder will be presumed to have developed the condition in the line of duty under a Minnesota law set to take effect next week. The change could make it easier for officials who experience PTSD to access workers compensation benefits. Those diagnosed prior to taking their active duty positions or who'd been demoted, fired, or otherwise shuffled in an act of good faith by an employer won't be afforded the same presumption.
HASTINGS, Minn. — Minnesota Gov.-elect Tim Walz on Thursday, Jan. 3, announced the appointments of seven new commissioners, including his picks to lead the Departments of Agriculture and Natural Resources, with a family dairy farm as his backdrop. The choices to lead the departments of health, human services, agriculture, natural resources and others signal a push for bringing gender and ethnic diversity to the posts as well as a mix of experience in the public and private sectors.