Senate DFL Week in Review: March 3, 2017

The final days of February went out with a bang at the state legislature with the Minnesota Senate passing Sunday liquor sales with a 38 to 28 vote. The bipartisan vote ends a depression-era law that banned the sale of alcohol on Sundays. The bill is expected to be signed soon by Governor Dayton, and will go into effect on July 1, 2017.

This week the February Budget Forecast was also announced – a look at the state’s finances which helps legislators craft a two-year budget. The forecast showed a $1.65 billion surplus, thanks to a strong economy and increasing consumer spending. Despite the surplus, which is much less when inflation is factored in, DFL legislators are urging caution – saying too much spending or tax cuts could quickly make the surplus disappear in future budget cycles.

Committee schedules continue to be packed, with many committees meeting late into the evening. The Senate’s first deadline is approaching quickly on March 10.

Taxes on agricultural land study

Buffers and seed mixes

Schools encouraged to use federal funds for STEM, robotics education

Civics credits would be required for high school seniors

Teacher licensure bill provides clarity, but still flawed

Bill would replace MCAs with ACT

Bill to eliminate the Environmental Quality Board advances

Blaze pink is the new orange

Bills aimed at limiting abortions in Minnesota move through committee process

Senate committees debate reinsurance legislation

OLA Report on home and community-based services

Broadband proposals heard in committee

Partisan elections bill passes second committee

Prohibiting plastic ban ordinances and limiting city control

Impeding the duties of the State Auditor a GOP priority

Restructuring of U.S. Bank Stadium Authority

New rules proposed for increasing transparency

REAL ID update

Motor vehicle repair and replacement parts taxes

Limiting speeding tickets on I35E

Moratorium on mowing permits

Veterans may qualify for lower property taxes

Student loan tax credits considered