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Budget deals start coming together ahead of special session

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz - AP image

Deals were coming together Wednesday as Gov. Tim Walz and top legislative leaders prepared for a special session to finish work on the state's next two-year budget.

Posted: May 22, 2019 2:45 PM

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Deals were coming together Wednesday as Gov. Tim Walz and top legislative leaders prepared for a special session to finish work on the state's next two-year budget.

The Democratic governor, GOP Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka and Democratic House Speaker Melissa Hortman had resolved the remaining differences holding up a tax bill, as well as bills to fund E-12 education, public safety and environmental programs. The leaders agreed earlier this week on funding bills for higher education and agriculture. But as of midday Wednesday the sides had not announced a date or duration for the special session.

The three leaders announced a framework for the $48 billion budget agreement Sunday night, about a 6% increase from the current budget. They left it up to conference committees to fill in the blanks and hash out the differences between the House and Senate versions of the main budget bills. But the task proved to be difficult and most of the panels had to kick the toughest questions back up to the triumvirate for final decisions.

Here are some highlights:

TAXES

The top leaders announced Sunday that there would be no gas tax increase, but that a tax on health care providers would dip from 2% to 1.8% and be made permanent at the end of the year, and that the tax bill would include a modest income tax cut for middle-class Minnesotans.

Documents released Wednesday shows that the tax bill also includes a $26 million increase in state aid to cities and another $26 million for counties for the two-year budget period, and $40 million increases for them in the 2022-23 budget, restoring the programs to the levels they were at in 2002

E-12 EDUCATION

The leaders on Sunday said per-pupil state aid to public school districts would rise 2% this year and another 2% next year.

Details of the $20 billion bill released Wednesday included money to preserve 4,000 state-funded pre-kindergarten seats that were due to expire, and more money for tribal schools, special education and school safety.

ENVIRONMENT

Highlights include more money and new rules to step up the state's efforts to control chronic wasting disease among the state's wild and farmed deer, including $1.6 million for the University of Minnesota to develop a better test for the fatal brain disease. If a captive deer tests positive for the disease, the entire herd must be destroyed. The bill requires double gates at deer farms to prevent escapes but not double fencing. It creates an "adopt a dumpster" program for safer disposal of potentially infected deer carcasses.

But a proposal was dropped to ban wolf hunting for sport if federal protections on the animals are lifted. Also dropped was a proposal to codify a state agency's approval for changing the name of Lake Calhoun in Minneapolis to its Dakota name Bde Maka Ska, which is the subject of a court challenge.

A proposal that started out as renaming Interstate State Park after former Vice President Walter Mondale was softened to renaming the St. Croix River Water Trail and some other facilities along the scenic river, which he helped protect when he was a U.S. senator.

PUBLIC SAFETY AND JUDICIARY

As expected, two hotly debated, Democratic-backed gun control proposals didn't make it into the final version.

But the bill does include forming a task force on the plight of murdered and missing indigenous women and a working group to look at overhauling the state's criminal sexual conduct statutes. A proposal to make it easier for sexual harassment victims to sue by removing a requirement that the conduct be "severe or pervasive" did not make it into the final version. But changes meant to make solitary confinement policies less severe did.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 62993

Reported Deaths: 1731
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin19873842
Ramsey7827270
Dakota4610106
Anoka3841115
Stearns292820
Washington222748
Olmsted179123
Nobles17777
Scott163422
Mower11112
Rice10468
Blue Earth9465
Wright9185
Carver8993
Clay79440
Sherburne75310
Kandiyohi7141
St. Louis62120
Todd4302
Lyon4263
Watonwan3671
Freeborn3611
Nicollet35613
Steele3562
Benton3253
Winona26616
Beltrami2640
Crow Wing25214
Le Sueur2301
McLeod2240
Martin2105
Chisago2091
Goodhue2059
Otter Tail2044
Cottonwood1780
Becker1621
Pipestone1589
Polk1564
Waseca1561
Carlton1470
Itasca14612
Douglas1442
Isanti1370
Unassigned13546
Dodge1310
Pine1290
Murray1251
Chippewa1171
Morrison941
Wabasha930
Brown922
Faribault920
Meeker872
Rock860
Sibley862
Koochiching833
Cass802
Jackson790
Pennington751
Mille Lacs733
Fillmore720
Renville675
Lincoln610
Grant563
Swift561
Roseau530
Yellow Medicine530
Pope480
Houston450
Aitkin411
Norman400
Kanabec372
Redwood370
Hubbard360
Wilkin353
Marshall290
Wadena280
Mahnomen271
Big Stone250
Red Lake240
Lake220
Stevens180
Clearwater140
Traverse130
Lac qui Parle80
Cook50
Lake of the Woods40
Kittson30

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 50230

Reported Deaths: 955
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk10612210
Woodbury377052
Black Hawk320066
Linn245689
Johnson213820
Dallas193235
Buena Vista180012
Scott176815
Dubuque173431
Marshall145627
Pottawattamie136729
Story118915
Wapello93435
Muscatine86048
Webster8498
Crawford7393
Cerro Gordo65617
Sioux6533
Warren5861
Tama55729
Jasper48427
Wright4821
Plymouth47912
Clinton4344
Dickinson3844
Louisa37814
Washington30510
Boone2723
Franklin25512
Hamilton2551
Bremer2337
Clarke2063
Clay2021
Carroll2012
Des Moines1992
Emmet1934
Shelby1881
Hardin1860
Marion1830
Floyd1673
Benton1621
Jackson1601
Poweshiek1608
Allamakee1584
Mahaska14217
Henry1404
Guthrie1385
Buchanan1351
Cedar1351
Jones1352
Butler1312
Lee1294
Madison1282
Hancock1242
Humboldt1241
Delaware1231
Lyon1232
Pocahontas1212
Harrison1131
Cherokee1101
Clayton1093
Winneshiek1021
Page1000
Taylor1000
Iowa981
Kossuth970
Mills941
Monona920
Winnebago920
Palo Alto910
Fayette900
Calhoun872
Cass871
Jefferson870
Sac860
Osceola850
Grundy831
Union811
Mitchell800
Monroe758
Lucas734
Worth680
Davis612
Montgomery614
Chickasaw600
Appanoose523
Howard510
Fremont450
Greene420
Keokuk401
Adair380
Van Buren381
Ida330
Audubon291
Decatur270
Ringgold231
Wayne211
Adams170
Unassigned20
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