Page 2 of 2 Previous

Continued: Legislators wrap up session early in a flurry of deal-making

That was the second tax relief measure of the session. In March, Dayton signed a bill providing $444 million in relief that reached about a million taxpayers. “Between this bill and the last one, we will have delivered $550 million in tax cuts for Minnesotans this year,” said Rep. Ann Lenczewski, DFL-Bloomington.

Limits for medical marijuana

The medical marijuana proposal prompted the most high profile policy debate of the session. Lawmakers and the Dayton administration had struck a final deal on the proposal just a day earlier. They agreed to a limited system of production and distribution that is considered the most restrictive among the 21 states that currently authorize access to medical marijuana.

The new medical marijuana law, which Dayton has promised to sign, authorizes access to the drug for about 5,000 Minnesotans with conditions including cancer, epilepsy, HIV/AIDS and a handful of others. With a health care provider’s permission, those patients will enroll in a patient registry that will allow the state Department of Health to monitor their progress.

The drug will be available only in pill or oil forms, with smoking not allowed and access to the drug in its original plant form forbidden. That was not enough to mollify some skeptics.

“It will change the face of Minnesota, folks, and don’t think it won’t,” said Sen. Carrie Ruud, R-Breezy Point. “We’re legalizing a drug.”

Others said the move was premature.

“We don’t have any studies, or proven methods of knowing what works for who, and at what level,” said Rep. Kathy Lohmer, R-Stillwater. “We’re basically just saying, we’re going to try this and see how this works. I think that is the opposite of compassion.”

Bakk noted the proposal was stalled for much of the session and revived only with the persistent lobbying of a small group of families of children with epilepsy who want to treat their kids’ seizures with a marijuana-based oil.

“This was not on the legislative agenda of most of us in this room,” Bakk said. “What that tells me is this is a wonderful example of how representative democracy works. A small group of families with their hurting children came to the Capitol, and they changed the law.”

 

Patrick Condon • 651-925-5049













 

  • related content

  • Measure cracking down on problem nurses goes to Dayton

    Friday May 16, 2014

    Problem nurses would face license suspension, stricter state oversight

  • Photo gallery: Minnesota legislative session coming to a close

    Friday May 16, 2014

    The Legislature is winding down a session with enormous implications for the upcoming election season.

  • Medical marijuana bill authors Sen. Scott Dibble and Rep. Carly Melin were congratulated after the bill passed the House on a bipartisan vote.

  • Rep. Kurt Zellers hugged fellow Rep. Mary Liz Holberg, both of whom plan to retire.

  • xxx Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk managed the flow of bills in the Senate as the session comes to a close. ] Friday, May 16, 2014 GLEN STUBBE * gstubbe@startribune.com

  • Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk congratulated construction bill author Sen. LeRoy Stumpf, who said the measure will be a “really bright star” for Minnesota’s economic development.

  • Mike Linn, second assistant secretary of the Senate, wielded an oversize pair of ceremonial scissors as he handled a flurry of bills and amendments during Friday’s frenzied session.

  • Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, center, left the Senate floor for a short time Friday morning after congratulating bonding bill author Sen. LeRoy Stumpf after the bill passed the Senate.

  • House members, scrambling to finish the legislative session a few days early, took time out Friday to give a standing ovation to retiring Rep. John Benson, DFL-Minnetonka.

  • House leaders Paul Thissen and Erin Murphy spoke to members of the media on the Minnesota House floor about several bills that still faced action on Friday.

  • Sen. Bill Weber, R-Luverne, thanked his Senate colleagues for working to get the Lewis and Clark water project funded in the final bonding bill. It will bring badly needed water to his district.

  • Bonding bill

    $1 billion in bonding and cash for roads, buildings, Capitol restoration and other projects

    Nursing reform

    Tough state oversight of dangerous nurses who put patients at risk of harm

    Medical marijuana

    Pill and oil forms legalized for some conditions, but smoking the plant remains illegal

    Rules for e-cigarettes

    Sale of e-cig devices to minors is banned. No vaping in government buildings, schools

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close