A gun bill passing the Minnesota Senate by an overwhelming majority?
It happened on Wednesday, minutes after a 17-hour, highly partisan debate on a unionization bill had ended.
The gun bill, sponsored by Sen. Ron Latz, DFL-St. Louis Park, is a noncontroversial series of changes aimed at strengthening current federal background checks. The bill requires the state to forward information on criminal dispositions and mental health commitments more quickly to the federal National Instant Criminal Background Check System, known as NICS.
The bill passed on a 58-9 vote.
Latz said he hopes to insert the provisions into a public safety finance bill currently in conference committee. That means the bill can only be accepted or rejected, but not amended -- a provision that was important to gun-rights supporters in the Senate.
Minnesota senators sharply questioned federal appeals court judge Neil Gorsuch during Wednesday's Supreme Court confirmation hearings, grilling him on whether he'd be protect the interests of ordinary people over corporations.
Other business groups like realtors, electric utility Xcel Energy Services, private colleges, tobacco giant Altria, Polymet Mining, health insurers and hospitals contributed to the overall total of $57.7 million to lobby the Legislature, the administration of Gov. Mark Dayton and Metro municipal governments.