Union members who are pushing for expanded mining say the governor needs to take a stronger stand in favor of mining or he could lose votes this fall. But taking that stand would put him at odds environmental groups.
Legislators are back in their districts Monday after finishing the 2014 legislative session on Friday night.
Early Friday morning, the Minnesota House passed two bills that spend more than $1 billion on public works projects across the state. Later in the day they are poised to pass another round of tax cuts, as well as a bill that legalizes medical marijuana and a bill that increases spending for schools, health care and broadband.
Bakk said he expects the House and Senate to vote on the tax bill, a medical marijuana bill and a bonding bill tonight. He says he expects lawmakers to finish their work by Friday night.
The House and Senate both passed the bill earlier tonight. It would ban the use of e-cigarettes in government buildings, in schools and on the campuses of the University of Minnesota and the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities.
Lawmakers have criticized Minnesota Lottery officials for expanding access to new games without getting legislative approval. But the lottery's executive director Ed Van Petten said banning the games could cost the state millions in lost revenue and lawsuits. He said he would prefer to see Gov. Mark Dayton veto the bill.
Under the bill health care professionals could authorize people to get access to pill and liquid forms of cannabis through eight sites.
For the past week, DFL legislative leaders have met privately with Republican leaders and individual Republican lawmakers, aiming to find the magic formula for a successful bonding bill. But those negotiations have proven fruitless.
A joint House/Senate conference committee has agreed to ban the use of e-cigarettes in government buildings, schools, the University of Minnesota and campuses in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system.
Sen. Dick Cohen, DFL-St. Paul, and Rep. Lynn Carlson, DFL-Crystal, on Monday announced their spending targets for each budget division. Health and Human Services will see the biggest increase in spending - roughly $104 million - in the current budget cycle. Spending on early childhood and K12 education will increase $54 million.
Sen. Branden Petersen, R-Andover, says the bill would require police and prosecutors to get approval from a judge before they can start tracking an individual's cell phone. He said that's a big change since current law does not require police to any approval to track someone's cell phone.
Gov. Mark Dayton said Monday he will veto a public works bill if the Legislature insists on including language in it that would ban the state from requiring sprinklers in any new homes.
Gov. Mark Dayton said today that he would not would not veto a bill that would ban the use of e-cigarettes in public indoor spaces, if it is passed by the Legislature.
While the Legislature has let employees buy back years of service to correct a mistake, it's never allowed anyone to join a pension after earlier electing to opt out of the plan, said Mary Most Vanek, executive director of the Public Employee Retirement Association of Minnesota.
"For 50 years we have assumed that we have equal pay for equal work," said DFL Sen. Sandy Pappas. "And the whole purpose of this bill is to see if that's the case, if we can get a handle on this stubborn pay gap."