Minnesota Capitol scorecard — what did lawmakers do and leave undone in the 2013 session?

  • By: STAR TRIBUNE STAFF
  • Updated: May 22, 2013 - 9:53 AM

As the final gavel fell on the 2013 legislative session, lawmakers left a changed Minnesota. Read on for a wrap up of the issues they tackled and those they left undone.

Income tax increase: As part of a $2.1 billion revenue bill, taxable income above $250,000 for married couples and $150,000 for singles will be taxed at a new, higher rate of 9.85 ­percent.
Cigarette tax increase: Taxes on cigarettes will go up by $1.60 under the bill, more than doubling the tax per pack.
Alcohol tax increase: There won’t be one. Lawmakers and the governor decided to leave the booze tax alone.
Sales tax on clothing: Nope. Minnesota clothing will remain tax-free.
“Snowbird” tax increase: The state won’t try to capture income taxes from people who live half the year in Minnesota and half the year out of state.
Vikings stadium funding: The state will provide backup funding for the state’s share of building a new Vikings stadium in case the new gambling revenue does not pick up, lawmakers say. New games in bars were supposed to pay for the state’s share but the cash has not come in as quickly as expected.
Sports memorabilia tax: This fell off the final deal so the tax will not increase on jerseys and other sports stuff.
Minimum wage increase: Although DFL lawmakers made increasing the minimum wage a top priority, House and Senate leaders could not agree on a new rate. Expect this issue to reappear next year.
Mayo/Rochester rebuild: The state and local governments will infuse $585 million into Rochester to spruce up the town and allow building of what Mayo is calling their “Destination Medical Center.”
All-day kindergarten: This key DFL goal will be funded. Districts will have the option of providing or not providing all-day kindergarten at state expense.
Early childhood scholarships: Another DFL goal set to be funded, increasing the amount available to needy parents.
School-shift payback: Lawmakers did not increase taxes to undo a delay in state payments to schools, a timing shift adopted in tough times. The shift may be paid back as the state’s economy improves.
Tuition freeze: With $250 million in new state spending on higher education, the University of Minnesota and the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities will freeze state tuition for two years.
Immigrant tuition: Under what’s known as the “Dream Act” in the higher-ed bill, undocumented students who attended Minnesota high schools for at least three years and want to become citizens will be allowed to get in-state tuition and be eligible for grants. About 750 students are expected to be eligible.
Unionization: After a contentious fight, lawmakers passed a bill allowing home child-care providers and personal care assistants to decide whether to unionize. While Gov. Mark Dayton is expected to sign it into law, the issue may be litigated in court.
Assault weapons: Attempts to address gun violence by banning assault rifles and high-capacity ammunition magazines met so much opposition they never got out of the starting gate.
Universal background checks: A plan to expand background checks to most private sales became the main goal of police groups failed.
Improved gun checks: A series of changes designed to improve current federal background checks, mainly by ensuring that the system quickly receives data on disqualifying crimes and mental health commitments, was approved.
Nursing-home workers raises: Nursing home caregivers will receive 5 percent pay increase, their first raise in more than four years.
Lawmaker salary increases: Lawmakers did not increase their own pay but did put a constitutional amendment on the 2016 ballot to ask voters if they want a panel to have control over lawmaker salaries.
Gas tax increase: The state tax on gasoline will not increase nor will there be a new metro sales tax for transportation needs.
Same sex marriage: As of Aug. 1, same-sex marriage will be legal in Minnesota, making it the 12th state to legalize.
Health exchange: A key part of the federal health care overhaul, Minnesota approved a health care exchange which will provide an online marketplace for health insurance.
Pension fund help: Ailing pension funds for retired public safety workers and St. Paul and Duluth teachers will get extra state help.
Medical amnesty: Lawmakers approved a measure encouraging people who may be violating alcohol laws to call for help if a friend needs medical assistance. Gov. Mark Dayton will decide whether to sign it into law.
Autism treatment: A provision in the Health and Human Services budget requires to health care coverage for an intensive, and expensive, form of therapy for autistic children.
Capitol renovation: The crumbling jewel of the state will get a $109 million yearslong spruce up.
Capital borrowing projects: The state will not fund civic projects in Mankato, Rochester, and St. Cloud, or borrow millions to repair or build buildings at the state’s colleges and universities. Expect those requests to return next year.
Medical marijuana: Lawmakers lit the medical marijuana issue but did not inhale. Expect this issue to return next year.
Immigrant driver’s licenses: Undocumented immigrants are still barred from getting legal driver’s licenses.
Antibullying: Minnesota will continue to have one of the nation’s shortest antibullying laws. In the final days, lawmakers dropped a detailed rewrite of the law.
Frac sand: The Legislature approved $1 million to help local governments regulate the frac sand industry and agreed to tighter DNR permitting of frac sand mines to protect trout streams. They nixed a statewide moratorium on sand mining.
Unemployment insurance: The state will lower the unemployment insurance tax on businesses to the tune of about $350 million.
Local government tax break: Local governments will no longer have to pay sales taxes on their purchases.
Capital equipment tax exemption: The sales tax exemption for business’ capital expenditures will be an upfront, rather than a refund.
Campaign spending: Lawmakers increased the amount Minnesota candidates can raise and spend in campaigns but did not add new regulations on groups that send out political messages but do not explicitly advise votes for or against candidates.
Election law overhaul: More Minnesotans will be allowed to vote absentee but the state will not allow early voting, as some other states do.
Lawmaker disclosure: The Legislature did not increase the amount of information they have to disclose about their outside financial interests but this issue may be back next year.
Government openness: In the end, the Legislature did not restrict police use of vehicle tracking technology or require more transparency surrounding data misuse. Those may be addressed next session. Lawmakers did extend who is defined as a “public official” to include more local government employees.

Icons are from The Noun Project. "Money" designed by Ocha Avmu, "Team" designed by Björn Andersson, "Gun" designed by Yevgeniy Osovets, "Ring" designed by Catherine Please, "Justice" designed by Anna Donlin.

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