ST. PAUL -- Hundreds of gun control supporters rallied at the Capitol on Wednesday, March 13, to put pressure on Minnesota senators to take up a pair of bills aimed at limiting gun violence. The measures up for consideration would require background checks at the point of purchase or transfer of firearms and allow family members, law enforcement officers and government attorneys to seek court orders taking away guns from persons determined to be an “extreme risk” if living in a home with guns.
ST. PAUL — The Minnesota House of Representatives on Thursday, March 7, advanced a proposal to add language to the state Constitution providing for gender equality under the law but not before pivoting into questions about abortion and transgender athletes. At issue was one word in the bill: gender. The proposal, House File 13, would ask Minnesota voters whether to enshrine in the Minnesota Constitution that “equality of rights under the law shall not be abridged or denied on account of gender."
ST. PAUL -- A pair of gun control bills is scheduled for another primetime hearing Wednesday night at the Capitol. The House Judiciary Finance and Civil Law Division is set to take up the proposals that would require universal background checks at the point of sale or transfer of a firearm and allow law enforcement officers to remove a person's weapons if they're believed to pose a threat.
ST. PAUL — A proposal to ban holding a cellphone while behind the wheel is a step away from a floor vote in the Minnesota House of Representatives. The House Judiciary Finance and Civil Law Division advanced the bill to the House Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday, March 6, likely the last stop before it reaches a vote on the House floor. Rep. Frank Hornstein, D-Minneapolis, said he brought the bill to “address the growing epidemic of distracted driving in our state.”
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota lawmakers need to approve emergency funding or risk losing contractors that know how to fix the state's troubled drivers licensing and vehicle registration computer system. Ahead of a Tuesday deadline, lawmakers in the Senate and House of Representatives were preparing to pass proposals Monday, March 4, that would green light $13.3 million in one-time money for the Minnesota Licensing and Registration System, known as MNLARS. The funds would keep the outside contract workers employed and continue fixes and improvements of the computer system.
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 — About eight years after the creation of the state's hub for information technology services, reviews of the agency yielded mixed results. That's according to a Minnesota Office of the Legislative Auditor report released on Wednesday, Feb. 27. While the state is better positioned to fight cybersecurity threats and can leverage its size to get better deals on software purchases, it's hard to say if consolidating the state's IT resources improved efficiency or spending, the report said.
ST. PAUL -- The state should take advantage of the current low interest rates and pass a $1.3 billion bonding bill to cover the cost of a slate of projects, Gov. Tim Walz said Tuesday, Feb. 26. The call from the Democratic-Farmer-Labor governor came in a nonbonding year at the Legislature and while it bucked the state's traditional schedule, Walz said it was crucial to pass the bill to resolve some of the state's most pressing issues.
ST. PAUL - Gov. Tim Walz on Tuesday, Feb. 19, presented his first budget proposal which came with a $49.5 billion price tag for the next two years. It includes a boost for Minnesota schools, local communities and health care programs. And to fund those programs, as well as a transportation and infrastructure package, the DFL governor planned to use a projected $1.5 billion surplus and new taxes. Democratic lawmakers were largely supportive of the proposal while Republicans, who hold a key two-seat advantage in the Senate, said they'd oppose several pieces.
ST. PAUL — Minnesota lawmakers on Tuesday, Feb. 12, advanced a proposal to ban the sale of tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes, to those younger than 21. The House Health and Human Services Policy Committee approved House File 331, which would bar the sale, lending or giving of tobacco products to Minnesotans younger than 21. Currently, Minnesotans can buy and use tobacco products beginning at age 18.