The Minnesota Legislature will meet Tuesday for the start of a new session, with leaders in the newly divided House and Senate saying they will seek common ground early on. Democrats swung into control of the House after scooping up 18 seats previously held by Republicans in the November election. House Speaker-designate Melissa Hortman, DFL-Brooklyn Park, will formally take the speaker position after the House convenes at noon. Republicans continue to control the Senate, and currently have a two-seat majority. But a special election in early February will determine whether they remain two seats ahead, or if their majority shrinks back to one seat. Senate leaders announced their first five bills Tuesday morning, signaling some of their top priorities this session. The bills will focus on mental health, child care, health care costs, government accountability and simplifying the tax code. “Republicans’ first five bills this year are focused on making life easier for families … [Read more...] about Minnesota Legislature convenes at noon Tuesday
Any discussion of the 2019 session of the Minnesota Legislature starts with who won’t be there anymore. Gov. Mark Dayton won’t be governor anymore, and House Speaker Kurt Daudt won’t be House speaker anymore. That alone removes a relationship that dominated the past two sessions of the Legislature — and got a lot of blame for breakdowns during end-of-session negotiations. Also missing are a ton of GOP House members who were swept out of office in the suburban wave that gave majority control to the DFL and turned Daudt into a minority leader rather than speaker. In addition to a new DFL governor, Tim Walz, there will be a new DFL House leader, Speaker-designate Melissa Hortman. Those changes will help determine whether much gets done in 2019. The one constant, Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, was often seen as the one trying to get between Daudt and Dayton. After what he gently describes as “tension” in the leadership relationship last session, he … [Read more...] about New faces, old questions dominate start of 2019 Minnesota Legislature: What can get done?
A DFL governor ready to make good on a slew of campaign vows. A new, energized House majority determined to ensure economic security for all Minnesotans. A fragile Republican Senate majority already bracing for Democrats’ taxing and spending proposals. Minnesota government is embarking on a new path when the divided Minnesota Legislature gavels into session on Tuesday, the only divided legislative branch in the country. Incoming Gov. Tim Walz and legislators start out with the advantage of a $1.5 billion budget surplus, but they face a growing list of funding requests and ominous signs the economy might be slowing. The new administration and legislative leaders have until May 20 to piece together a nearly $50 billion, two-year budget that pays for education, health care and public safety all while debating which taxes to cut, extend or increase. Any wrong move could blow a hole in the budget and hobble the new Walz administration and legislators’ priorities. … [Read more...] about Divided Minnesota Legislature gets ready for $50 billion question
The Minnesota Legislature’s two leaders — House Speaker Melissa Hortman, a suburban Democrat, and Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, a Brainerd-area Republican — have already set a cooperative tone. Shortly after the election, the two quickly agreed to revive a handful of noncontroversial bills that got derailed during the end of the 2018 legislative session. The pressure on Gazelka will be big this session. Last year, Dayton and Republicans in the House and Senate did not reach an agreement on a supplemental budget plan, and the result was scores of initiatives of little controversy did not happen. If Gov.-elect Tim Walz and lawmakers can’t agree on a two-year state budget by May, much of state government will shut down. “Minnesotans seem to like divided government,” said Gazelka, 59, who is known as both a champion of his conservative caucus and a builder of consensus who garners a level of personal respect not always afforded partisan … [Read more...] about Minnesota Legislature’s two leaders want cooperation between their two parties — but can they do it?
Kyle Potter, Associated Press Updated 9:39 am CDT, Saturday, November 3, 2018 In this 2014 photo, Republican Rep. Jeff Howe is shown. In Minnesota's state Senate race, Howe and Democrat Joe Perske have spent months knocking on doors of voters who have been written off as GOP supporters for years. Neither the Senate's top Republican nor its leading Democrat is declaring victory. less In this 2014 photo, Republican Rep. Jeff Howe is shown. In Minnesota's state Senate race, Howe and Democrat Joe Perske have spent months knocking on doors of voters who have been written off as GOP supporters ... more Photo: Mark Zdechlik, AP In this 2014 photo, Democrat Joe Perske is shown. In Minnesota's state Senate race, Perske and Republican Jeff Howe have spent months knocking on doors of voters who have been written off as GOP supporters for years. Neither the Senate's top Republican nor its leading Democrat is declaring … [Read more...] about Fight for Minnesota Legislature set in suburbs, St. Cloud