ST. PAUL -- Gov. Tim Walz this week pitched his first state spending plan to the public, and it met with instant Republican opposition. The blueprint sets the table for debates about how lawmakers ought to spend almost $50 billion over the next two years. And in the divided Legislature, it cued up early disagreements about whether lawmakers should hike taxes and fees to fund key projects.
ST. PAUL -- State lawmakers are considering axing the Office of Minnesota Information Technology Services following a problematic rollout of the state's auto registration and licensing computer system. The move comes a week after the nonpartisan Office of the Legislative Auditor released a report that outlined extensive failures that ultimately doomed the launch of the Minnesota Licensing and Registration System, known as MNLARS, in 2017.
ST. PAUL -- Hundreds of business owners and Duluth area local officials filled a hotel ballroom Thursday, Feb. 21, to learn more about the goings-on at the state Legislature and possible wins for the Duluth area. And they got an earful from Gov. Tim Walz, who hoped to win over broader support for his budget blueprint, and from another Democratic-Farmer-Labor leader, who blasted the governor's move to delay the Enbridge Line 3 oil pipeline project.
ST. PAUL — A Minnesota lawmaker said the state's best shot at avoiding the loss of representation in Washington could hinge on getting more Minnesotans ready to be counted in next year's U.S. Census. The state stands on the brink of losing one of its eight U.S. House seats because population growth in Minnesota has been outpaced by other states, estimates show. And a lower population count in the 2020 U.S. Census could also mean decreased federal funding.
ST. PAUL -- Plans to make historic investments in Greater Minnesota could sail through fights at the Capitol over contentious pieces of Gov. Tim Walz's spending blueprint. Some of the central tenets like a 20 cents per gallon gas tax hike and decision to keep in place a 2 percent tax on medical providers faced instant opposition from Minnesota Republicans when the Democratic-Farmer-Labor governor presented the proposal on Tuesday, Feb. 19.
ST. PAUL — Minnesota broadband development advocates on Wednesday, Feb. 20, made their case for keeping a program that provides state dollars to match private investments in building out the infrastructure for high-speed internet. And they asked lawmakers to back a proposal to boost state funding to fill gaps in internet coverage in pockets of rural Minnesota.
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 -- Minnesotans could see a 20-cent per gallon tax hike at the gas pump under a proposal put forth to fund large-scale repairs to the state's roads and bridges. Schools around the state could see hundreds of millions of additional dollars flow to their classrooms to help boost funds to pay teachers or increase school offerings. Families, seniors and farmers could file for new tax credits or benefits and internet users around the state could see faster service by 2021 as part of plan to expand broadband service border-to-border by 2021.
ST. PAUL - Minnesota high school students would be required to take a course in government and citizenship under a proposal up for consideration in the state Legislature. The Senate Committee on E-12 Finance and Policy reviewed the proposal and put it aside, possibly to be added to a larger committee bill set to be presented later this year.
ST. PAUL — Representatives from each of the 11 American Indian tribes in Minnesota on Monday, Feb. 18, gave state legislators a refresher course on the history of Indigenous people in the state and asked that they keep them in mind when writing laws. It was the first time in more than a decade that lawmakers turned over the House of Representatives for an intensive session on an issue. And it was the first time all 11 tribes were invited to speak in that chamber.