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5 things to watch in Minnesota's 2018 legislative session

In Minnesota, lawmakers typically try to line up state and federal ... Similar concerns surround the process for investigating complaints of abuse in nursing homes and other elder care facilities. Dayton's administration has acknowledged being swamped ...

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Jockeying is well under way by communities, state park enthusiasts, college administrators and local wastewater treatment officials to snag a spot in the latest construction projects plan Without question, there will be several times more in demand than authorized borrowing to carry out the construction Dayton set his marker at $1.5 billion in bond sales to rehabilitate existing buildings that are in rough shape and add some new ones, from science laboratories to zoo revitalization Lawmakers will craft their own wish lists, but undoubtedly subtract from the overall price tag of the governor's proposalRepublican legislative leaders say they'd like a package closer to $800 million Here's something unique about this bill: It takes three-fifths majorities in both chambers to passThat means Republican leaders need to the backing of Democrats to move ahead, at least seven in the Senate and four in the House — more if they lose the support of fellow Republicans House Minority Leader Melissa Hortman said now isn't the time to skimp "Just as a family when they are looking when to take out a mortgage looks at what is happening with the interest rates, this is the time for the state to maximize its borrowing and get those projects under way," said Hortman, DFL-Brooklyn Park"They are going to be expensive in the future for two reasons: We know inflation is coming and we know interest rates are going up." 3) Leave it to voters Molly Yang heads to submit her ballot as voters around her cast their votes in the StPaul city elections at the Arlington Hills Community Center on Nov7, 2017. Christopher Juhn for MPR News 2017 It's an election year after all So, get ready to see some constitutional amendments bubble up for votes to considerThe big question is which ones? Lawmakers have talked about a measure to permanently dedicate tax dollars from auto parts and repairs to road constructionThere is also discussion about a change to the way a lieutenant governor is chosen if there is a vacancyAnd, in response to last year's fight over a Dayton veto, there might be attempts to alter the power balance between a governor and the Legislature Constitutional amendments head to the ballot without involvement of the governorOnce majorities in the House and Senate vote on identical language, the proposed amendment reaches the ballot But amendments can motivate certain voters to show up, so the majority party usually tries to put up measures that inspire their own base and won't gin up the other side's core supporters With Republicans driving the process, there could be calls for an amendment to curb collective bargainingBut fearing an energized union base, GOP leaders are likely to opt against thatAlso, don't expect to see much action on a plan to legalize marijuana for recreational use because that might also lure more liberally minded voters to the polls 4) Policy galore A lone protester knelt down in the middle of I-94 on Nov17, 2015 as police began to gather in response to the freeway closureTraffic was at a standstill for several hours during a protest of the police shooting of Jamar Clark. Judy Griesedieck for MPR News 2015 Lawmakers are likely to pick up some policy debates where they left off in 2017 Republicans are intent on toughening penalties for protesters who block freeways, transit lines and other public routesBills to impose new regulations around abortion could advance, despite consistent veto threats by Dayton The governor has said he hasn't given up on a push to provide driver's license for immigrants in the country without proper documentation Ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft are teaming up to push for statewide rules regarding their services, hoping to avoid city-by-city ordinances And there will be hearings around state agency oversightLawmakers want answers about and recommended fixes to a new vehicle registration system that debuted last summer with considerable problems; Republicans say there hasn't been adequate accountability Similar concerns surround the process for investigating complaints of abuse in nursing homes and other elder care facilitiesDayton's administration has acknowledged being swamped with complaints and could seek more money to help dig out faster Can we all get along? House members gather as they wait for roll call to be completed during Day 3 of the special session on May 25, 2017 where lawmakers strugged to pass a $46 billion budget. Jim Mone | AP 2017 After last year's session crash landing and subsequent court battle over the budget, it's reasonable to ask if lawmakers can even work together on the state's business Trust was certainly strained between Democratic legislators and Republican legislators, Republican legislators and Dayton and even Dayton and Democratic legislators An early test will be on a bill to reinstate critical funding for the Legislature, which is operating through an emergency account until new dollars come throughDayton has said he'd sign a clean bill, but it's not entirely clear how soon one can come together and whether one side or the other will try to attach controversial items to it "Frankly, the best for showing the public that we've repaired the relationship, we're moving on, we're putting this behind us and we're starting fresh is to send a clean bill just exactly the way it was and not add other things," Daudt said Beyond that, some lawmakers hope to avoid the ritual pileup of all of the key decisions until session's end, where a small group of lawmakers strikes deals in private before a rush of public votes Hortman, the House Democratic leader, said at a pre-session forum featuring Dayton and the four caucus leaders that changing the legislative traffic flow will go a long way to improving what's been a shaky process"We have way too much being decided in rooms with the five of us sitting down and talking about what should and shouldn't happen, and that is not how the process was designed," Hortman said Stay Informed Subscribe to our politics newsletter Email Address Zip Code See our Privacy PolicyMust be age 13 15 hours ago 2 hours ago Help us cover this story MPR News apps for Android and iOS MPR News for iOS MPR News for iOS MPR News for Android MPR Radio for iOS MPR Radio for Android MPR News Podcasts The Ticker Kerri Miller Tom Weber Brains On @MPRNews Facebook Tips: 651-290-1424 Subscribe to email newsletters The Thread Capitol View MPR News Update AM MPR News Update PM Listen Live Station Directory Audio Help About Minnesota Public Radio Contact Us Shop Become a Member Volunteer Fundraising Credentials Terms of use Your privacy rights Public Inspection Files

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