Lawmakers are poised to grant next year's Minnesota candidates permission to raise and spend more campaign cash, to allow them to compete with massive spending from outside groups.

The new limits awaiting House and Senate floor votes but approved by a joint legislative committee, double the amount an individual can give to candidates for most campaigns and dramatically increases the amount of money candidates could spend.

Candidates for governor, for instance, will be able to spend $5 million during an election cycle whereas previously they could spend just $2.7 million, if they agreed to spending limit. Legislative candidates would also see the amount they are permitted to spend double.

Unlike some versions of the measure, the final agreement does not put in place new regulations over so called "electioneering communications," which are messages that outside groups send out near an election to praise or criticize a candidate but don't specifically include an entreaty to vote for or against that candidate.

The measure also creates a new exception to the ban on lawmakers receiving gifts. Now, if a group invites the entire Legislature to an event, lawmakers can eat and drink on that group's dime without worrying they are receiving a prohibited gift.

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