Capitol Wrap: Looking back at this week
(ABC 6 News) – It was a busy week for lawmakers in both Minnesota and Iowa.
Several high-profile bills are either making their way through the legislature or have already been signed into law.
Here’s a quick round-up of the latest developments from St. Paul and Des Moines.
A top priority for the DFL was signed into law this week.
Governor Tim Walz signed the “Protect Reproductive Options (PRO) Act” into law on Tuesday.
It codifies the right to have an abortion into law, making Minnesota the first state to take action on reproductive rights since the Supreme Court ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade.
The bill puts the right to have an abortion without restrictions into state law. It also protects sterilization, family planning, contraceptives, and maternity care.
Supporters call it a necessary protection for a fundamental right, while opponents call the bill “extreme”.
“Juneteenth” becomes a state holiday in Minnesota.
“Juneteenth” commemorates the end of slavery in the U.S.
Governor Walz signed the bill into law this week, officially recognizing June 19th as a state holiday.
Lawmakers greenlight a carbon-free energy bill.
the Minnesota Senate voted 34-33 to approve the legislation, which will require utilities to generate at least 80% of their electricity through carbon-free resources by 2030 and 100% by 2040.
Republicans are calling it the “Blackout Bill,” saying it will raise energy prices and lead to blackouts during periods of extreme heat or cold.
It now heads to Gov. Tim Walz’s desk for his signature.
A bill that would allow people to get driver’s licenses without showing proof of legal presence in the U.S. is inching closer to becoming law.
It was approved by the House on Monday night, sending it off to the Senate.
Supporters say it will break down employment and housing barriers while making roads safer.
Opponents say it opens the door for voter fraud.
The House also approved a bill to restore voting rights for felons who have completed their prison or jail term.
Republicans offered up an amendment that would require people convicted of murder or criminal sexual conduct fully complete their sentences instead of just the incarceration term, but it failed.
Several other bills are continuing to progress through the legislature as well.
Those include various gun safety bills, a bill to legalize recreational marijuana, a paid family and medical leave bill, legislation to ban conversion therapy, and many others.
In Iowa, several items are making their way through the legislature.
That includes a bill that would increase public school funding by 3%, amounting to an estimated $107 million.
Democrats in the state are pushing for a 6% increase, however, or an estimated $267 million.
They argue the 3% increase is not enough to keep up with inflation.
Another bill gaining attention in the capitol is seeking to shorten the length of freight trains moving through the state.
Supporters say it would reduce the number of blocked road crossings in the state.
Opponents say that instead, it will just increase the frequency of trains on the rails.
Lastly, Governor Kim Reynolds is proposing cutting the state’s income tax to 2%, saying eventually, she wants to eliminate the tax entirely.
For more news from your state’s legislature, stay with ABC 6 News for the latest developments from your state capitol.