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It takes easing up on a few laws to bring big-time sporting events to the Twin Cities, and Minnesota legislators are relaxing statutes where they can to make that happen.
One bill considered Wednesday by a House commerce and consumer committee would allow Hennepin County establishments that sell alcohol to stay open an extra two hours for Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game Home Run Derby on July 14, and for the All-Star Game the next day.
Gov. Mark Dayton and legislative leaders also met privately Wednesday to talk about tax changes that could be needed to land the Super Bowl. And a state representative has proposed a bill benefiting a professional golf foundation to coincide with the 2016 Ryder Cup in Minnesota.
Permits to keep the taps flowing and the liquor pouring past 2 a.m. would cost a maximum of $2,500, according to the bill by Rep. Joe Atkins, DFL-Inver Grove Heights.
As for the Super Bowl, Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, has said previously that the NFL expects cities that host the championship game to exempt player salaries from the income tax and lift taxes on game tickets. The state has a Super Bowl ticket exemption on the books from the 1991 game in Minneapolis.
The league will name the Super Bowl city in May. Minneapolis is a finalist.
Bulk sale of drivers’ data could end
Lawmakers inserted themselves Wednesday into a dispute between businesses and Minnesota’s public safety agency over costs and access to millions of drivers’ records and vehicle registrations.
Legislation that would reverse an administrative decision to end bulk sales of the data began working its way through the House. Department of Public Safety officials say they’re responding to citizen concerns about privacy. A coalition of groups ranging from auto insurers to car dealers to data aggregators contend it will raise consumer prices and slow safety recalls.
The House Civil Law Committee deferred a vote until Friday. But many on the panel indicated they were ready to overrule the department’s move to require records be accessed individually at $5 apiece, beginning in May. Users say the bulk availability means they spend less than a dollar for each lookup now.
About 15 companies now pay flat rates for daily downloads of the driver and vehicle records. It gives them access to more than 7.7 million vehicle records and 6.5 million license records even if they need only a fraction of them.
Pat McCormack, who heads the division that has custody of the records, said a substitute subscription service is being developed that will allow the agency to keep better tabs on where the data is going. Bulk buyers were notified of the impending cutoff a few months ago and have been trying to stop it since.