Although the Legislature and Gov. Mark Dayton found themselves at an impasse when it came to taxes, transportation and education funding, the Legislature did manage to pass a bevy of bills in its final days, most notably the routine appropriations bills that will keep state government going for the next two years.
Below, major legislation that passed in recent days.
Aside from the funding fight, legislators reached agreement on teaching licensure changes, streamlining the process for out-of-state teachers. They also provided $32 million for long-term building maintenance. Legislators also agreed to reduce standardized testing.
The Legislature agreed to a higher education bill that would give the University of Minnesota $53 million beyond its current allocation. Of that, $30 million will go toward the medical school. The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System, meanwhile, received $101 million in new funding.
Health and Human Services
The Legislature passed a two-year, $12 billion budget for the second most expensive part of state government, the Department of Human Services, which manages programs related to caring for the disabled and other vulnerable Minnesotans. The measure includes $138 million in new money for nursing home workers, which was a priority of House Republicans.
Democrats fought an attempt by Republicans to eliminate MinnesotaCare, a public health insurance program for the working poor, although legislators agreed to allocate $500,000 for a task force to study changes to the program before its funding source sunsets in a few years.
A bill passed with bipartisan support includes an additional $111 million in spending for courts and public safety, and a measure legalizing firearm suppressors — more commonly known as "silencers" — despite a veto threat from Dayton.
The public safety deal, reached over the weekend, includes pay raises for judges, more staffing for the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, and funding to combat sex trafficking and prevent recruitment of Minnesotans to terror organizations like ISIL and Al-Shabab.
A push to restore voting rights to felons after they are released from incarceration did not make it in the final bill.
The House and Senate toughened drunken driving laws. They compromised on Automatic License Plate Readers (ALPR), allowing law enforcement to store data gleaned from the devices for 60 days. A controversial amendment in the Senate bill that would regulate the use of police body cameras was removed.
The Legislature was set to pass funding for environment, conservation and agriculture programs that included major policy provisions related to the protection of the state's natural resources. A compromise between the Legislature and Gov. Mark Dayton on buffers around the state's waterways is the "most significant advancement in Minnesota water policy" since the 1991 Wetland Conservation Act, according to a statement from the Nature Conservancy. Other environmental groups said the bill was not sufficient and would roll back other clean water protections and interfere in the regulation of polluters.
A voting bill makes it easier for members of the National Guard to vote, provides for the right to time off from work for voting and creates a task force to plan for what to do about an election in the case of a natural disaster or other emergency.
Ricardo Lopez and Abby Simons contributed to this report.