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Gun control measures fail as MN budget deal remains elusive

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz - AP image

Minnesota House and Senate negotiators failed to agree on stronger gun control laws Tuesday.

Posted: May 15, 2019 6:36 AM

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota House and Senate negotiators failed to agree on stronger gun control laws Tuesday, while Gov. Tim Walz and top legislative leaders met once again to try to bridge the deep divisions on taxes and spending that are holding up a budget deal.

The meeting of the conference committee on the main public safety budget bill marked the first time this session that senators had a chance in an official forum to debate a pair of gun control proposals that passed the Democratic-controlled House but didn't get a hearing in the Republican-controlled Senate. Both proposals failed on 5-5 party line votes, meaning they didn't make it into the broader bill.

The proposals would have expanded background checks for firearms transfers and allowed police to obtain "extreme risk protection orders" to temporarily confiscate guns from people judged an imminent threat to themselves or others. Rep. Carlos Mariani, a St. Paul Democrat who co-chairs the conference, said they could be raised again as the panel shapes its final budget bill. But approval appears unlikely because both parties are firmly dug in to their positions.

The other co-chair, Sen. Warren Limmer, who had refused to give the proposals hearings in his judiciary committee, asked for Tuesday's votes. He said he didn't expect gun control issues to go away but that he had a number of problems with both bills.

"There are a number of issues here that deserve a little more scrutiny, a little more process," the Maple Grove Republican said.

Rep. Dave Pinto, the lead author of the proposal to require background checks for most gun sales and transfers, said plenty of exceptions were added as it went through the legislative process to try to address critics' concerns

"We can do more to keep guns out of the hands of people who have proven themselves to be dangerous, and at the same time uphold the rights of those many, many responsible law-abiding gun owners," said Pinto, a St. Paul Democrat who is also a Ramsey County prosecutor.

But the Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus and National Rifle Association argued against the erosion of Second Amendment rights.

"We challenge you guys, instead of pushing for failed, overzealous, overreaching and divisive policies that have broad bipartisan opposition, please work together to focus on things that we can agree on will have a positive impact on public safety, without infringing upon the rights of Minnesota's law-abiding gun owners," said Rob Doar, the caucus' political director.

Meanwhile, the Democratic governor sat down again in private with GOP Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka and Democratic House Speaker Melissa Hortman to try to reach agreement on budget targets to guide the various conference committees, which have made only patchy progress so far on crafting the main budget bills of the session.

Gazelka and Hortman said Monday that they needed to reach a deal Wednesday if they were going to give the conference committees enough time to make their tough budget and policy decisions and for staff to finish writing the final bills before Monday's adjournment deadline. But Republican House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt, who was speaker during the last budget-writing session in 2017, said he thought the leaders could set the targets as late as Friday and still leave enough time.

Walz and House Democrats on Monday offered to cut their proposed 20 cent per gallon gasoline tax hike to 16 cents. Senate Republicans offered to spend $100 million more on education and public safety but remained adamant against a gas tax increase or renewing an expiring tax that raises about $700 million annually for health programs. That left the two sides about $1.6 billion apart on a two-year budget that's expected to total somewhere between $48 billion and $50 billion.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 327477

Reported Deaths: 3751
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin688981130
Ramsey28948512
Anoka23196232
Dakota23102194
Washington14590120
Stearns14314121
St. Louis9280117
Scott881056
Wright827145
Olmsted702536
Sherburne608243
Clay521359
Carver501315
Kandiyohi432024
Rice427738
Blue Earth426617
Crow Wing376237
Otter Tail332725
Chisago326914
Benton317253
Nobles313731
Winona292031
Douglas278439
Mower270623
Polk266226
Morrison241730
Lyon228712
Beltrami227518
McLeod226517
Becker217619
Goodhue216930
Steele20568
Itasca202223
Isanti199517
Carlton198417
Todd187414
Nicollet169426
Mille Lacs161231
Freeborn15966
Le Sueur153511
Brown151015
Cass149910
Pine14298
Waseca141811
Meeker139011
Roseau12475
Martin121221
Hubbard117728
Wabasha11041
Redwood101720
Chippewa9508
Cottonwood9284
Renville92729
Dodge9110
Watonwan8824
Wadena8537
Sibley8194
Rock8019
Aitkin79530
Houston7694
Fillmore7480
Pipestone74718
Kanabec67714
Yellow Medicine67612
Pennington6758
Swift6149
Murray6064
Faribault5902
Pope5641
Clearwater5389
Stevens5333
Marshall5289
Jackson5181
Lake4437
Wilkin4115
Koochiching4106
Lac qui Parle3984
Unassigned38259
Lincoln3721
Norman3638
Big Stone3332
Mahnomen3164
Grant2956
Kittson2408
Red Lake2283
Traverse1521
Lake of the Woods1021
Cook790

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 234817

Reported Deaths: 2486
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk34631341
Linn14655168
Scott1166189
Black Hawk11194139
Woodbury10622133
Johnson979337
Dubuque941594
Story698323
Pottawattamie664871
Dallas657159
Sioux380529
Webster371639
Cerro Gordo367649
Marshall357647
Clinton341444
Buena Vista313114
Des Moines298621
Muscatine298271
Warren291714
Plymouth284444
Wapello263772
Jones235917
Jasper229746
Lee225617
Marion210222
Carroll203624
Bremer200212
Henry19137
Crawford181016
Benton174023
Tama156641
Washington149715
Jackson148814
Delaware147021
Dickinson143811
Boone142412
Mahaska133328
Wright13007
Clay12254
Buchanan122010
Hardin121011
Hamilton117713
Page11664
Kossuth11608
Clayton11399
Cedar112513
Harrison110832
Floyd110219
Calhoun10907
Fayette108712
Mills10858
Lyon10619
Butler10576
Winneshiek102713
Poweshiek102013
Iowa100213
Winnebago94825
Cherokee9474
Chickasaw9084
Hancock9008
Sac8978
Louisa89321
Grundy88911
Allamakee87013
Mitchell8369
Cass83524
Union8166
Appanoose80713
Humboldt8015
Shelby79511
Emmet78626
Guthrie77115
Franklin76021
Jefferson7512
Madison7174
Unassigned7050
Palo Alto6734
Keokuk6477
Pocahontas5984
Howard5809
Osceola5411
Greene5401
Ida53013
Clarke5004
Montgomery49311
Davis4819
Taylor4773
Monona4516
Monroe45113
Adair4489
Worth3820
Van Buren3755
Fremont3743
Lucas3376
Decatur3290
Wayne3077
Audubon3052
Ringgold2382
Adams1792
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