Senate DFL Week in Review: March 10, 2017

This is last Friday’s Week in Review from the Senate DFL:

The first full week of March saw a flurry of legislative activity as the first deadline is this Friday, March 10. This is the first of three major deadlines that help align which bills will move forward to one day becoming law.

The week began with a thunderclap — REAL ID legislation came to the Senate floor and was voted down on a bipartisan vote. The move stalled the legislation over Republicans refusal to take out controversial language. The no vote isn’t the end though – legislative leaders are working out compromise language that both parties can agree to.

Later in the week thousands of women across Minnesota and the country celebrated International Women’s Day. Some women chose to mark the event with ‘Day without women’ – taking the day off of work and not spending any money. The state capitol hallways were filled with red-clad women – many carrying signs and spreading the word that women’s rights are human rights.

International Women’s Day in Minnesota

In another powerful show of solidarity, thousands of women dressed in red poured into the Minnesota State Capitol this week in honor of International Women’s Day. Organizers say the day was in conjunction with the Women’s March Minnesota.

Women, and the men who support them, carried signs – many saying ERA in honor of the Equal Rights Amendment. Other signs referenced equal rights for all, or a newly famous slogan: She Persisted, which references Sen. Mitch McConnell trying to silence Sen. Elizabeth Warren on the floor of the U.S. Senate chamber.

Among the day’s events included a press conference to discuss the ERA Minnesota’s legislative agenda. Many of the women were visiting legislator’s offices to carry the message that women’s rights are human rights.

REAL ID update

REAL ID failed to pass the Senate floor this week. The Senate DFL attempted to pass a clean bill without unnecessary immigration language, but the amendment failed on a party line vote. The GOP then brought their bill to a vote, after refusing to compromise, and it ended up failing with Democrats and Republicans voting against it. The bill was taken up again Wednesday and “laid on the table” to give the majority time to figure out how to craft a bill that can pass with bipartisan support.

The main sticking point between the House and the Senate that continues to tie-up this urgent legislation is an attempt by the Republicans to attach controversial language related to immigration. That issue has been controversial at the Capitol for a number of years, and the Republican effort to attach it to the REAL ID bill has stalled this important legislation. The Senate hopes to pass a clean bill allowing Department of Public Safety (DPS) to implement REAL ID and allow Minnesotans to board their flights and visit their loved ones on military bases without adding other controversial issues. Read more here.

Bottoms up — Sunday liquor sales signed into law

Liquor stores, if they choose to do so, will be open for the first time in history on Sunday, July 2 after Gov. Mark Dayton signed a bill into law ending the ban. The new law allows liquor stores to be open on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. However, cities have the option to pass an ordinance to keep liquor stores closed on Sundays. Read more here.

Shrimp incentives move closer to reality

Bonding bill heads to Senate floor for a vote

The Greater Minnesota Loan Forgiveness Program

Controversial bill changes Minnesota teacher licensure requirements 

Advanced Placement and IB STEM Grants

Problematic changes to Minnesota State Grant program

OLA Report shows statewide tests take time, money from schools

Restructuring of U.S. Bank Stadium authority continues

Elections bill could suppress Minnesota voters

Minnesota expands veterans’ access to state parks

Governor’s progressive HHS Budget proposal reviewed

Expensive reinsurance bill moves to the Senate floor

Senate addresses substance abuse disorders

Tobacco tax cuts could be on horizon

Bills limiting light rail travel through Senate