With little fuss, lawmakers overwhelmingly passed, and the governor signed, a series of measures to streamline regulations and delete obsolete laws.
Minnesota will remain in the minority of states that forbid liquor stores from being open on Sundays. Opponents of the Sunday sales prohibition hoped this year that they would at least win permission for brewers to sell glass growlers on Sundays, but that didn’t happen.
The sale of e-cigarettes and other “vaping” devices to minors will be prohibited and their use will be banned in government-owned buildings and hospitals. Cities and businesses are free to adopt more stringent bans.
Lawmakers limited the scope of law enforcement data gathering through formerly secret devices like cellphone trackers and license plate readers.
Local governments will have to post campaign finance information online for all to see under a new mandate approved this year. But political spending from independent groups — largely political nonprofits — that is now undisclosed will remain so.
Cellphone kill switch
In May, the governor signed a first-in-the-nation measure that requires smartphone manufacturers to include mandatory “kill switch” technology by July 2015 as a way to deter thefts.
Lawmakers and the governor were unable to agree on any new program to deal with civilly committed sex offenders. That could leave the fate of the Minnesota Sex Offender Program up to the courts.
In the very first act of the session, lawmakers and the governor approved an additional $20 million in heating assistance to help low-income families coping with high heating prices stay warm through the bitter cold winter.
Senate office building
After a great deal of debate, the House and Senate agreed to move forward on plans for a new Senate office building behind the Capitol. The plans now include a nearly $77 million building to house all senators and allow for new meeting rooms.