Author: MinnPost

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For months, it has been unclear if Democrats, who control Minnesota’s narrowly-divided Legislature, had enough votes to pass major regulations on guns. But on Wednesday, DFL lawmakers signaled they are more confident than ever. Key Democrats announced a compromise “red flag” policy that would allow a judge to order firearms taken from someone who is a risk to themselves or others. And they also struck a deal on a measure that would extend background check requirements to private transfers. A public safety conference committee, which is negotiating a larger policy and spending package for House and Senate lawmakers, adopted both measures as…

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Rep. Heather Edelson remembers her reaction when a reading specialist told her that her twin sons showed evidence of dyslexia. Because the learning disorder can be hereditary, the specialist asked, did she know of anyone in her family who lived with dyslexia or struggled with reading?  “I remember feeling like I didn’t want to answer the question,” the DFLer from Edina said. Edelson was held back in third grade at a north Minneapolis elementary school because she wasn’t reading at grade level. Her mother, too, had struggled to read. It wasn’t diagnosed at the time, but Edelson was dyslexic. “There…

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At a crowded mid-February rally in the rotunda of the Minnesota Capitol, First Lady Gwen Walz told a supportive crowd that DFL lawmakers would pass a broad agenda to limit guns. She cited policies like raising the minimum age to buy certain semiautomatic rifles and restricting the capacity of magazines. “We will pass the legislation you’ve heard about,” said Walz, who is a prominent advocate for gun regulations. “If you want to purchase military-style firearms, why don’t you just join the military?” Even then, when the legislative session was still young, the pledge was a bit ambitious. At that point,…

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For months, it seemed that Democrats who control the Minnesota Legislature were headed toward a political standoff over whether to eliminate the state tax on Social Security benefits. But the question that could have paralyzed the party appears to have been quietly resolved — perhaps earlier in the legislative session than anticipated. Senate DFLers on Tuesday released a plan for tax cuts and credits that would exempt more seniors from paying the Minnesota Social Security tax, but it would not repeal that tax altogether.  As it stands, the proposal represents a remarkable concession for a small but significant bloc of…

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Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz had some Republicans in mind while delivering his State of the State address Wednesday. They just weren’t the Republicans sitting in the House chamber in St. Paul. The DFL governor, who began his second term in January, aimed some of his sharpest jabs at national Republicans, especially an unnamed fellow governor from Florida. He portrayed a Minnesota under the control of Democrats as a bulwark against the spread of “the forces of hatred and bigotry,” referring in part to anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and policies. “But let me say it now, and let me say it clearly: That…

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Minnesota House DFLers have taken a two-pronged political position on taxes: that wealthy individuals and corporations don’t pay their fair share and that any tax relief be aimed only at those with the lowest incomes. The House tax bill released Monday put both positions into print. Tax cuts and credits worth $3 billion in the budget period that begins July 1 phase out at middle-income levels. Meanwhile, the bill would impose two significant tax hikes on high-income residents. Both strategies are based on the DFL’s view of how the COVID-19 pandemic affected people. “The pandemic was not felt evenly and the economic…

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Gov. Tim Walz currently has sole authority to appoint all 17 members of the Metropolitan Council and designate a chair who serves in his cabinet. While appointments are subject to state Senate confirmation, such votes rarely happen. That makes Walz — and all Minnesota governors — the most powerful player in regional decisions over transit, wastewater treatment, regional parks and comprehensive land use. So why would he want to give up that power? The Metropolitan Council has been mired in controversy and criticism, much of it resulting from the lengthy, pricey and troubled Southwest Light Rail Transit project, a 14.5-mile…

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With six weeks to go in Minnesota’s legislative session, DFLers who narrowly control state government with their first “trifecta” since 2014 have a list of early accomplishments such as cementing abortion rights in state law and passing a carbon-free energy mandate. But Democrats also have plenty of unanswered questions left to address, starting with the Big One: how, exactly, they plan to spend a Paul Bunyan-sized $17.5 billion surplus when writing the next two-year state budget. In the last two weeks, House and Senate committees began releasing dueling budget proposals outlining potential spending on issues like public safety, child care,…

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Sen. Alice Mann says she knew her No. 1 priority for the 2023 session was going to take up a lot of her time. Senate File 2 would create an insurance program for paid family and medical leave that would put Minnesota in league with 11 other states that have pioneered the coverage. Mann said she purposefully introduced fewer bills and took on fewer other issues to give herself time because of what she said she knew would be a “heavy lift.” She underestimated. “I have anywhere from one meeting to four or five in one day regarding this bill,” the…

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Congress broke out in partisan discord over guns, as it has with increasing frequency in the aftermath of every horrific mass shooting in the nation. U.S. House Democrats quickly moved to call for the reinstatement of a federal ban on assault-styled weapons like the AR-15 that killed three nine-year-old students and three educators at a private school in Nashville this week. “They are not being used to hunt deer, they are being used to hunt human beings,” House Minority Leader Rep. Hakeem Jeffries said at a press conference on the U.S. Capitol steps. Like Jeffries, Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-5th District, demanded…

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