President Obama will host the NCAA champion University of Minnesota women’s ice hockey team at the White House on Monday.
The Golden Gophers are among the 2012-13 championship teams joining Obama for an event on the South Lawn. The ‘U’ squad finished last season undefeated on their way to back-to-back titles.
“The President will welcome student athletes from schools across the country to congratulate them on their accomplishments in the classroom and on the playing field,” a release from the White House says.
Medical marijuana faces a tough fight in the Minnesota Legislature, House Speaker Paul Thissen warned Friday.
Legislation that would make Minnesota the 21st state to legalize medical marijuana cleared one committee this week and heads to Government Operations next Tuesday. The bill would allow doctors to prescribe marijuana and allow patients to either pick up their prescriptions at a licensed marijuana dispensary or grow their own under lock and key.
But in its current form, the bill is unlikely to make it to the House floor, Thissen said. State law enforcement associations strongly oppose the bill in its current form, and Gov. Mark Dayton does not want to sign off on a law without law enforcement support.
"What I want to get to is a bill that both law enforcement and the advocates of medical marijuana can support," Thissen told reporters Friday. "Until we get that bill, I don’t see a bill passing out of the House floor."
Law enforcement groups worry that medical marijuana will make it into the wrong hands -- particularly teens and people seeking marijuana more for its recreational effects than any therapeutic benefits.
The medical marijuana debate pits law enforcement against patients and families seeking the drug to treat a host of debilitating conditions. The first hearing drew parents seeking cannabis treatment for young children with seizure disorders, a mother who scored marijuana to ease the final months of her daughter's battle with cancer, and patients seeking the drug for conditions ranging from glaucoma to muscular dystrophy.
It might be possible, Thissen said, to hammer out a compromise that both sides can live with.
"We’ve been sitting down with law enforcement folks and the advocates a number of times and there has been some progress and movement together," Thissen said. "It wouldn’t be as broad, obviously, as the bill that got its hearing last week in the committee, but I think we are making progress and will continue to work at that."
The bill is not yet scheduled for a hearing in the Senate.
"The negotiations are on to see if we can get law enforcement involved," Senate Deputy Majority Leader Jeff Hayden told reporters. "The governor’s been pretty clear from the very beginning that he wasn’t going to sign a bill that law enforcement didn’t approve. I think that those negotiations are ongoing."
Gov. Mark Dayton’s new $1.2 billion supplemental budget calls for tax benefits that could be a big help for charities.
Lost in the much larger tax proposal is small change that would reduce sales taxes that non-profit groups pay to host fundraisers.
“This sales tax exemption is critically important for booster clubs that support our schools, helping raise funds for student enrichment activities like sports teams, chess clubs, and other school groups,” Dayton said.
The state has not adjusted that sales tax exemption for nearly 30 years.
Dayton’s tax plan would also allow people over 70 1/2 to transfer up to $100,000 from their individual retirement accounts to charities and exclude that amount from their income.
The proposal would also make it easier for individuals and businesses to donate food, land and money to charitable causes.
The House and Senate are now considering Dayton's budget plan, with Senate hearings set for next week.
A measure to make the transition between schools easier for military children cleared the Minnesota House Education Policy committee Thursday morning.
The panel unanimously approved the recommendation that Minnesota join the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children. The compact has been adopted by 46 other states, and, with an average of six to nine family moves during the average military career, helps schoolchildren adjust by ensuring credit for classes taken transfers from state to state, and facilitates opportunities for military kids to try out for sports teams or other squads even if the season has already started.
On Thursday evening the committee will reconvene to discuss bills that would direct the state’s licensing board grant expedited licensing for military members and their families, and a measure that would allow high school students with disabilities to transfer between schools without affecting their eligibility for athletic competition or other activities.