Winner: Air travelers. Minnesota will finally be in compliance with uniform ID standards implemented by the federal government after 9/11. That means travelers will be able to continue to use a state driver’s license instead of U.S. passports to get on domestic flights or enter federal buildings.
Loser: Illegal immigrants who want to drive legally. The Legislature limited their access to driver’s licenses by making law of what had been an administrative rule.
Winner: Consumers of liquor. For the first time in state history, liquor stores will be able to sell alcoholic beverages on Sundays, beginning July 1. Super Bowl revelers next winter will also be able to enjoy a temporary 4 a.m. bar closing time.
Loser: State workers on paid parental leave. The new benefit required legislative ratification, but Republicans incorporated that into a bill that also would restrict Minnesota cities from setting their own workplace standards. Gov. Mark Dayton opposes the latter measure and promises to veto it, calling it “unconscionable” that Republicans linked it to paid leave.
Winner: The individual health insurance market, which received about $880 million in premium relief for its customers and a “reinsurance program” aimed at keeping insurance companies in the market.
Loser: Local control. The Legislature passed a range of bills that interrupted local government actions. The most high-profile casualty is likely to be a plastic bag ban set to take effect June 1 in Minneapolis; if Dayton signs the jobs and economic development budget bill as expected, it won’t happen.
Winner: Prekindergarten students. The school budget bill included $50 million to further expand prekindergarten classes in public schools, a major priority of Dayton’s.
Loser: Education Minnesota, the teacher’s union that saw two measures it opposed end up in the final public school budget bill: less onerous licensing provisions for new teachers and a provision that bolsters the ability of local school districts to opt out of “last in first out” seniority rules in hiring.
Winner: Big Tobacco. Minnesota has one of the highest cigarette taxes in the country with increases tied to inflation. But the 2017 tax bill eliminated the automatic yearly hike. Lawmakers also approved a tax cut on cigars.
Loser: Service Employees International Union home-care workers. Their raises were cut in half.
Winner: Historic Fort Snelling received $4 million to begin design for a new visitor and field trip center as well as upgrades in time for the 2020 bicentennial.