ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota House of Representatives on Thursday, March 21, advanced a bill that would add protections against sexual harassment in the workplace. On a 113-10 vote, lawmakers approved a change that would add language to the Minnesota Human Rights Act clarifying that harassment does not need to be “severe or pervasive” before it can be deemed actionable in court. The high legal bar has kept cases from being heard and denied justice to people who've experienced harassment, supporters said.
ST. PAUL -- Hopes for legalizing recreational marijuana in Minnesota came to a halt in a state Senate panel. Chasms emerged as gun control and abortion came up ahead of a legislative deadline. Millions of dollars of fraud were reported in the state's child care assistance program and legislators split on how to address it. As the Minnesota Legislature took up some of the most controversial proposals of the legislative session, divisions emerged between the Republican-led Senate and the Democrat-led House of Representatives.
ST. PAUL — A Minnesota Senate panel on Thursday, March 14, voted to outlaw abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy, paving the way for the proposal to advance in the Legislature. The bill would ban abortions on women who are past 20 weeks in their pregnancy except in cases of possible death or serious physical harm. Risk of substantial and irreversible psychological or emotional conditions would not be included.
ST. PAUL — The Minnesota Senate on Monday, March 11, advanced a proposal to keep subsidizing health insurance companies for three years, setting up a conflict with Gov. Tim Walz and Democrats. The proposal would maintain the reinsurance program, which lets the state absorb some of the expense to private health insurers to offset the cost of care for some of the pricier claims they cover.
ST. PAUL -- A proposal to legalize marijuana for recreational use in Minnesota came up short of the support it needed in a Senate committee, raising questions about the proposal's future. The Senate Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety Finance and Policy on Monday, March 11, voted 3-6 against advancing a proposal that would legalize marijuana and allow for the expungement of certain crimes involving the drug. Democrats on the panel supported the bill while Republicans opposed it.
ST. PAUL — The Minnesota House of Representatives on Thursday, March 7, advanced a proposal to add language to the state Constitution providing for gender equality under the law but not before pivoting into questions about abortion and transgender athletes. At issue was one word in the bill: gender. The proposal, House File 13, would ask Minnesota voters whether to enshrine in the Minnesota Constitution that “equality of rights under the law shall not be abridged or denied on account of gender."
ST. PAUL -- A pair of gun control bills is scheduled for another primetime hearing Wednesday night at the Capitol. The House Judiciary Finance and Civil Law Division is set to take up the proposals that would require universal background checks at the point of sale or transfer of a firearm and allow law enforcement officers to remove a person's weapons if they're believed to pose a threat.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota couples considering divorce would be able to bypass the courts under a proposal advancing through the state Legislature. The proposal would give married couples the option to set the terms of their divorce and file for marital dissolution through a cooperative divorce program, which would be housed under the Minnesota Bureau of Mediation Services.
ST. PAUL -- Gov. Tim Walz on Tuesday, March 5, signed into law his first two bills, an indication that Minnesota's divided Legislature could rack up some early wins, legislative leaders said. The bills provide stopgap funding to help improve the state's troubled vehicle registration and licensing computer system and make tweaks to a set of public works projects aimed at resolving legal challenges. Both passed through the House of Representatives and Senate Monday night. And the proposals required compromise.
ST. PAUL — The lone counselor tasked with providing free mental health services to farmers and their families through the Minnesota state college system just got a step closer to getting some help. The Minnesota House of Representatives on Monday, March 4, unanimously advanced a bill that would appropriate $100,000 to boost mental health counseling for farmers and their families as well as for farm advocate services and farmer-lender mediators.