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From A to Z: How Minnesota legislation fared

ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota Legislature adjourned Monday, but potential vetoes and a looming special session could change some of what they accomplished. The following list includes the latest information about key issues.

ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota Legislature adjourned Monday, but potential vetoes and a looming special session could change some of what they accomplished. The following list includes the latest information about key issues.

Avian flu: About $19 million was approved for low-interest loans, mental health aid for farmers with flocks affected and unemployment payments for workers laid off from farms affected by the flu. More money is possible in a public works bill and other actions that could come in a special session.

Blue alert: Legislation was approved to establish a program to alert Minnesotans when a police officer is killed or seriously injured. Much like Amber Alert is used to find lost children. The system would be used to find suspects.

Body cameras: No final action was taken on proposals to regulate how long law enforcement departments may keep video from body cameras some officers wear.

Bonding: The House and Senate drew up public works financing bills in the $100 million range near the end of the regular session, but with no final agreement the issue most likely will be decided in a special session.


Broadband: Rural Minnesotans say they need access to high-speed Internet, known as broadband, like their city cousins enjoy, not just for home use but for businesses to be competitive. While spending up to $100 million was considered to help broadband expand, the final amount was $12 million.

Budget: A two-year budget, to begin July 1, was set at nearly $42 billion, up from the current $39 billion. Lawmakers left $1 billion in the bank for next year, with transportation construction and tax cuts two potential uses for it.

Buffers: Gov. Mark Dayton suggested requiring a 50-foot vegetation buffer around all bodies of water, an effort to cut water pollution. Agriculture groups opposed such an extensive requirement and a compromise resulted in a minimum 30 feet around public waters, 16½ feet around public drainage ditches and no requirement around private ditches. However, money needed to implement the law was in a bill lawmakers did not pass.

Capitol renovation: With the entire Capitol now closed for a three-year, $270 million renovation project, many lawmakers hope a special session results in a $30 million addition for security and other unexpected renovation needs.

Child protection: The governor signed legislation into law designed to improve child abuse investigations. It would put a focus on the child's safety instead of keeping a family together.

Commissioner raises: An early-session dispute between Democrat Dayton and Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, D-Cook, occurred when the governor gave his commissioners raises without telling legislative leaders for a month. The two renewed their friendship and a provision passed to revoke the raises, but it gives Dayton one day to reinstate them on July 1.

Disaster: Nearly $12 million was approved for June 2014 flood recovery efforts, with more possible if lawmakers pass a public works funding bill in a special session.

Drones: Legislation to limit unmanned aircraft use was debated, but a full drone regulation bill did not get a vote.


Education: More education money was approved, but the dispute that is leading to a special session is whether Dayton gets his wish to spend $171 million more to establish pre-kindergarten classes.

License plate readers: Law enforcement officials will be able to keep data 60 days, longer if the data could be part of a court case.

Lottery: The Legislature voted to ban instant-play online lottery games, as well as games at fuel pumps and elsewhere. Dayton let it become law without his signature.

Minimum wage: Republicans wanted to change how the minimum wage is figured for tipped workers, but it failed.

MinnesotaCare: Republicans wanted to move MinnesotaCare enrollees to other programs, saving the state money, Democrats won the battle to preserve the state-subsidized health insurance programs. However, cost for enrollees will rise.

MNsure: Members of both parties wanted to change how the state health insurance sales Website is run, but all that happened was ordering a study about how MNsure would be best governed.

Nursing homes: Nursing homes will get $138 million more, allowing them to raise workers' pay. That should be especially helpful for rural nursing homes in retaining employees.

Parks: State park fees will increase.


Rail safety: Victim of a transportation funding plan meltdown, most rail safety proposals did not pass. However, about $5 million was included in a bill to upgrade rail crossings and establish emergency response teams in Duluth and St. Cloud to help at oil train accidents. More money could be approved in a special session.

Sex offenders: Even though a federal judge has told lawmakers they should take action to allow sex offenders to be released from a rehabilitation program where some are committed after serving their sentences, there was no serious action to change state law. Without a legislative change, the judge could take over the sex offender program as soon as this summer.

Sunday sales: Liquor stores will remain closed on Sundays, but efforts succeeded to allow Sunday refills of beer growlers.

Taxes: House Republicans wanted to cut taxes $2 billion over the next two years. That failed, but the GOP probably will try again next year.

Transportation: Legislators came into the session saying they wanted billions of dollars more for transportation programs. However, Republicans wanted to take money from other state programs and Democrats wanted to tack on a new gasoline tax, and no progress was made toward a compromise.

Tuition freeze: Some Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system students will see tuitions remain static, but legislators did not find enough money to freeze all tuitions at state-run colleges and universities.

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