Clock is ticking with days left in the Minnesota legislative session
(ABC 6 News) – The clock is ticking for Minnesota lawmakers as the legislative session is expected to end Monday, but there’s still a lot of work to do.
Many bills are making progress including the ‘Recreational Marijuana Bill.’ The House gave the green light to the final version of the bill late Thursday with 73 voting yes, and 57 voting no. Now, it’s headed to the Senate. If it re-passes in the Senate and is signed by Governor Tim Walz, recreational marijuana will be legal on August 1st.
Another one on the table is the ‘Paid Family and Medical Leave Program.’ The bill made its way to the Conference Committee Thursday before being passed by the House. This program will give Minnesota workers up to 12 weeks of paid time off for serious medical conditions, or to care for a family member. DFL Senator Alice Mann of Edina who is the sponsor of the bill, and a doctor trained at Mayo Clinic voted remotely because of emergency surgery. Governor Walz is expected to sign the bill.
$880 million is the cost of Minnesota’s newly passed Public Safety Package. It includes required background checks for gun sales and the new red flag law. The law allows guns to be taken from someone if they’re considered a danger to themselves or others.
Opponents of the bill say it’s unconstitutional. While it focuses on public safety, some members of law enforcement say it’s lacking real solutions to keep people safe. Olmsted County Sheriff Kevin Toergerson said 90% of the gun violence in Olmsted County is not committed by legal gun owners.
“The majority of these cases are unlicensed people and illegal people who shouldn’t have these weapons,” Sheriff Torgerson tells ABC 6 News.
The Public Safety Bill is headed to the Governor’s desk and is expected to be signed into law Friday.
The ‘Keeping Nurses at the Bedside Act’ is still in the works and could impact Mayo Clinic employees. Governor Walz wants Mayo Clinic to be exempted from the bill. In fact, the nursing legislation is in its own separate bill. This would except Mayo Clinic from having to participate in letting nurses have more say in staffing levels.
Mayo Clinic is threatening to pull nearly a billion dollars in state investments if the bill passes with no exemption. The Minnesota Nurses Association believes patients in southeast Minnesota will suffer if Mayo is exempt.
“The patients in southeast Minnesota deserve the same staffing protections as every other patient in the state. We deserve to know that when they or their loved ones walk into a hospital, they will get the care they expect and deserve from highly skilled professionals,” said Rebekkah Nelson with the Minnesota Nurses Association.
The bill remains in the Conference Committee for now. In the next few days, it will head to the House and Senate for final debate.
The bill to allow sports betting is in committee in both the House and Senate. According to a recent SurveyUSA poll, a majority of Minnesotans are for legalizing sports betting but with one exception. They are only for it if it’s allowed at Minnesota’s two-horse tracks.
The Minnesota Tax Bill is headed to the chamber after being hammered out in the committee Wednesday night. In this deal, married Minnesotans who file taxes together can get a one-time, $520 tax credit or rebate. That is only if they make up to $150,000 that year.
Families with children will get more – $260. Families can also get $260 for up to three children. A single person making up to $75,000 a year can get a tax credit or rebate of up to $260. Senate Republicans say the final amount of tax increases is still unknown.
The 2023 Minnesota legislative session is expected to end Monday, May 22nd.