Gov. Dayton orders flags flown at half-staff for Memorial Day


Source: Office of Gov. Mark Dayton & and Lt. Gov. Tina Smith

Gov. Mark Dayton has ordered all United States flags and Minnesota flags to be flown at half-staff at all state and federal buildings in the state of Minnesota, from sunrise until noon on Monday, May 29, 2017, in honor of those who have died while serving in the United States military.

The United States and Minnesota flags are quickly raised to the tops of flagpoles, slowly lowered to half-mast, and then raised again to full height at noon. The time at half-mast is meant to honor American servicemen and women who have died for their country. Re-raising the flag is meant to symbolize the resolve of the living to carry on the fight for freedom so that the nation’s heroes will not have died in vain.

Since 1868, Memorial Day has been observed in the United States of America to officially celebrate and honor the valiant sacrifice of those in the military who have given their lives in service to our country.

Across the nation, and in the state of Minnesota, Americans give thanks those who undertake the great responsibility of defending our liberties and protecting democracy. On Memorial Day, the United States of America and the state of Minnesota honor the spirit, courage, and tenacity of service members who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

View Gov. Dayton’s proclamation.

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Session Daily: Lawmakers pass final budget bills, wrap 2017 special session

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House Speaker Kurt Daudt and House Minority Leader Melissa Hortman confer on the House Floor during a recess early Thursday afternoon. Photo by Andrew VonBank, Session Daily

Source: Session Daily

By Mike Cook

Day three of the 2017 special session saw lawmakers pass final omnibus bills to be sent to Gov. Mark Dayton, with weary House members wrapping up their work at 2:42 a.m. Friday following a week of long days — and nights — at the State Capitol.

Legislators finished a tax bill that includes extended bar close times for next year’s Super Bowl in Minneapolis, an omnibus education bill that includes $483 million in new money, and a transportation bill with $300 million in new General Fund dollars. A bill to fund state government is also on its way to the governor, as is a health and human services bill that spends more than $15 billion.

Read the remainder of this article at Session Daily.

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Session Daily: Compromise education bill passed by House in special session


Rep. Jenifer Loon explains provisions of the omnibus education finance bill during special session floor debate May 24. Photo by Paul Battaglia, Session Daily

Source: Session Daily

By Nick Longworth

After weeks of negotiations over the best approach to reduce the achievement gap, lawmakers passed a compromise bill early Wednesday that they believe Gov. Mark Dayton would ultimately sign.

The result is a proposal that increases overall education funding by nearly $500 million and would shift prekindergarten education investments into early learning scholarships and school readiness programs.

Sponsored by Rep. Jenifer Loon and Sen. Carla Nelson, the House passed HF 2, as amended, 79-54. It now heads to the Senate.

“This bill addresses the needs of students, teachers and it will empower parents,” said Rep. Sondra Erickson.

Spending of $18.75 billion is called for in the 2018-19 biennium, a General Fund base increase of $483 million, or 3.5 percent.

The bill would increase General Education Basic Formula funding by 2 percent per year increase — an additional $331.7 million in base funding. Loon said that amounts to $245 per-pupil increase. School officials argued this session a 2 percent increase was necessary to keep up with inflation and rising costs.

Rep. Erin Maye Quade said a 2 percent formula increase is barely inflation. “We need to invest in our schools, not keep the lights on.”

Read the remainder of the article at Session Daily.

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Minnesota Senate OKs Omnibus Retirement Bill; awaits passage in the House


The Minnesota Senate passed the Omnibus Retirement Bill (SF 545) Sunday night on a 67-0 vote. The bill awaits passage by the Minnesota House.

The Senate bill does not provide funding to cover the costs of the proposed employer contribution increases.

See to view a summary provided by the Legislative Commission on Pensions and Retirement.

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Pioneer Press: Legislature gets budget deal — but will need an overtime special session

Source: Pioneer Press

Minnesota legislators blasted past their midnight deadline Monday to get their work done — but will come back immediately to finish the job.

Forty-five minutes before their constitutionally mandated end of this year’s five-month legislative session, Republican legislative leaders joined with Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton to announce they had reached a deal on how much money to spend on tax cuts, transportation, health and human services and public schools.

The deal means a liberal Democratic governor looking to preserve state programs and his legacy and a newly powerful Republican legislative majority aiming to shift Minnesota to the right managed to agree on how to spend $46 billion over the next two years.

Dayton said he agreed to call lawmakers into special session just past the stroke of midnight. The agreement means they will have until Wednesday morning to approve a $990 million state building measure, an $18 billion school budget and around $14 billion for health and human services programs.

Lawmakers have been working on the state’s budget for months, but they ran out of time before their midnight deadline to negotiate and approve budget bills funding public schools, health and human services, roads and bridges and tax cuts. Those measures make up about 70 percent of the state’s budget.

Dayton and Republican lawmakers’ biggest disagreement in the education area had been over how much to spend on which preschool programs and how to spend it. Over the weekend, Dayton persuaded Republicans to drop a provision that would give tax breaks for donations to help low-income students attend private schools. Many public school advocates opposed the measure.

Read the complete article at the Pioneer Press website.

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90th Legislative Session Comes to an End -Governor Calls Special Session

IMG_2978Despite having a nearly $1.65 billion budget surplus, Governor Dayton and legislative leaders were unable to reach a final budget agreement during the 2017 regular legislative session, which ended at midnight on May 22.

Legislators spent six months in committee meetings preparing budget bills. Governor Dayton vetoed 16 major budget bills in the days leading up to the weekend before the session was constitutionally mandated to end. Of those bills, five (Agriculture, Elections, Higher Education, Jobs and Economic Development and Environment) bills were renegotiated and an agreement was reached in both the House and Senate. The following bills were left without resolution when Legislators ran out of time and failed to pass: E-12 Education (which would have included Teacher Licensure), Tax, Pension, Health and Human Services, Transportation, Public Safety, State Government and Bonding.

Announced at 11:30 p.m., an agreement had been reached and Governor Dayton called a special session from 12:01 a.m. until 7:00 a.m. Wednesday, May 24th. The final bills have been negotiated between Governor Dayton, Speaker Daudt and Majority Leader Gazelka. MSBA will monitor and keep you informed of any developments. Please follow Twitter, Facebook and our blog, The Advocate for the latest legislative news.


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Session Daily: Legislature to move forward with budget bills — without governor’s agreement


Flanked by other Republican leaders, House Speaker Kurt Daudt speaks to the media about a new series of budget bills that will be considered before the constitutional end of session Monday. Photo by Paul Battaglia, Session Daily

Source: Session Daily

By Ricky Campbell

The Legislature will move ahead with passing renewed budget bills, Republican leaders announced Friday, hoping to wade through the arduous task of assembling conference committees, approving reports, negotiating with the administration and passing finalized legislation before the constitutionally mandated deadline of midnight on Monday.

House Speaker Kurt Daudt and Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka released new spending targets they called “real compromise” positions with Gov. Mark Dayton — numbers the governor hasn’t publicly agreed to — that spend less on tax incentives and more on areas like health care and state government.

“We’re asking the governor to finish up with us on time,” Gazelka said at a Friday afternoon news conference.

The new Republican budget targets, compared to their previous positions, include increasing:

  • health and human services spending by $246.59 million to a $258.4 million reduction over current levels;
  • E-12 spending by $163.5 million to $467 million;
  • state government spending by $100 million to $40 million;
  • judiciary and public safety spending by $79 million to $164 million over previous proposals;
  • and reducing spending on tax breaks from $1.12 billion to $660 million.

Read the rest of this article at Session Daily.

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