Tuesday, May 7, 2013
The Hopkins and St. Louis Park legislator has been a vocal supporter of same-sex marriage.
Hopkins and St. Louis Park Rep. Steve Simon (DFL-District 46B) was among the legislators who helped a same-sex marriage bill cleared the House Ways and Means Committee on Monday night. The voice vote before Ways and Means was the final committee vote before the bill heads to the House floor. Watch the committee discuss the bill in the video above. Simon has been a vocal supporter of same-sex marriage. Two years ago, a video of Simon went viral when he asked in a floor speech, “How many more gay people does God have to create before we ask ourselves whether or not God actually wants them around?” In a Monday Minnesota Public Radio article, Simon defended the latest bill against charges that it would infringe on religious beliefs. The local …
Friday, May 3, 2013
A Northfield legislator has introduced legislation that would end the ban on studying passenger service on the line, which runs through St. Louis Park.
Lawmakers are considering resuming discussion about passenger service on the Dan Patch rail line. The line connects the Twin Cities to Northfield, running through Lakeville, St. Louis Park, Edina and other metro cities. It still carries freight trains, but passenger service ended in 1942. A 2002 law that Rep. Ron Erhardt (DFL-District 49A) sponsored put a moratorium on attempts to re-institute passenger service, preventing the Met Council from studying, planning, designing or constructing a commuter line, according to Minnesota Public Radio. But Northfield Sen. Kevin Dahle (DFL-District 20) has introduced legislation to repeal the moratorium, MPR reported. He and other argue that the moratorium stifles discussion. Erhardt said he stands by…
Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Proposed legislation would ban school boards from dropping coaches' contracts 'solely' because of parent gripes.
Do high school coaches need a law to shield their jobs from parent complaints? Leave your comment below. A Minnesota Legislature conference committee is weighing whether to include this sentence in its omnibus policy and finance bill: "The existence of parent complaints must not be the sole reason for a board to not renew a coaching contract." The legislation is in response to increasing non-renewals of coaches' contracts, with as many as 35 percent in one sport (boys' hockey) involving parent complaints, according to a Star Tribune report: “This just came out from athletics directors and coaches who thought something more needed to be done,” said Rep. Dean Urdahl, a Grove City Republican who co-authored the bill. “The problem is … parents…
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Minnesota legislators are debating a new sales tax on licensed clothing, sports memorabilia and luxury suites to cover the state's share of Vikings stadium construction costs.
Do you want to pay sales tax on Twins, Wild and Timberwolves sports memorabilia and licensed clothing to help the State of Minnesota raise money to build the new Vikings stadium? E-pulltab revenues to fund the new Minnesota Vikings stadium have fallen short, so the Minnesota House of Representatives Taxes Committee is considering a new tax on sales of sports-related items to help fill the gap. Watch the House committee debate the issue at its Wednesday meeting starting at 12:30 p.m. above or at TheUpTake.org. The bill (see PDF) by Rep. Ann Lenczewski (DFL-Bloomington) would tax "'Sports memorabilia' ... items available for sale to the public that are sold under a license granted by any professional sports league or a team that is a …
Thursday, March 28, 2013
A bill that changes the way state aid is calculated could start money flowing into city coffers again.
After years without local government aid, St. Louis Park could see payments balloon to nearly $460,000 under a new proposal that would inject tens of millions of dollars into the system and change the way those millions are distributed. The bill by Moorhead Rep. Ben Lien (DFL-4A) would add $80 million to the $426 million that the state is scheduled to spend on local government aid (LGA) in 2014. It would also create a new formula that adjusts aid based on its “aid gap”—a product of how the formula determines “unmet need,” according to the House Research bill summary. For so-called “large cities” that have more than 10,000 people, including St. Louis Park, the formula considers three factors in determining need per capita: LGA is intended …
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
The Minnesota Restaurant Association wants tipped employees to remain at the federal minimum wage.
Despite pushback from restaurants, District 46A Rep. Ryan Winkler isn’t backing down from his efforts to boost the state’s minimum wage, including for tipped employees. On Tuesday, the Minnesota Restaurant Association released results of a survey that it said predicted the consequences of Winkler’s proposal nearly $10 over the next two years. The survey found: J.J. Haywood, CEO of Pizza Lucé and president of the association, argued that tipped employees should remain at the federal minimum wage of $7.25 since the industry’s tipped employees average $18 an hour statewide and $22 an hour in the metro, Minnesota Public Radio reported. Winkler, who represents Golden Valley and St. Louis Park, dismissed the association’s proposal as a “tip …
Friday, March 22, 2013
The District 46 legislator, who represents Hopkins and St. Louis Park, voted in favor of a proposal to tighten gun control measures Thursday.
Hopkins and St. Louis Park Rep. Steve Simon was among the 10 legislators in the House Public Safety Committee on Thursday who advanced a bill that would require background checks for private sales at gun shows. The committee passed the bill on a mostly party line vote—although Rep. John Ward, a Baxter DFLer, voted with Republicans against the bill. The bill also contains The bill does not require universal background checks on gun sales because the idea did not have enough supporters on the committee. However, the Senate version of the bill requires universal background checks and an amendment is likely to be offered on the House floor. The bill also contains less-controversial measures to keep guns away from people who shouldn’t have them…
Friday, March 15, 2013
The bill would require background checks for most gun sales and broaden the definition of who can’t own guns—among other changes.
The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday split on a party-line vote in approving a bill that contains key gun control provisions pushed by District 46 Sen. Ron Latz. The bill would change gun laws to: The approval of the Judiciary Committee—on which Latz is the chairman—follows days of gun control debate in the committee. Critics argued that background checks are overly inconvenient and that they won’t keep guns out of the hands of criminals, who won’t submit to background checks anyway. Latz—whose district includes Golden Valley, Hopkins, Plymouth and St. Louis Park—countered that it’s just a minor inconvenience and that his intent isn’t to stop gun sales or track who has firearms. “It simply proposes to provide what I would term a very…
Monday, March 11, 2013
With a proposed business-to-business sales tax off the table, the state isn’t able to fund the property tax rebate.
On Friday morning, Gov. Mark Dayton announced that he is taking a business-to-business sales tax plan out of his revised budget. The news was overwhelmingly welcomed by businesses, whose leaders had criticized the proposal since its inception. But it also forced Dayton to remove another plank in his budget plan: a $500 property tax rebate for families. Patch wants to know how you feel about this trade-off. How would you have used the property tax rebate? What will you have to forgo now that it’s gone? Was the property tax rebate even a good idea in the first place? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Wednesday, March 6, 2013
Legislature is considering proposed upgrade to vague state statutes.
Tuesday afternoon, Minnesota state senators and advocates gathered at the State Capitol to hear details of a proposed new anti-bullying law that would beef up the state's vague bullying laws. The bill, written by Southwest Minneapolis' Sen. Scott Dibble (DFL-61) and Rep. Jim Davnie (DFL-63A) would require the state Department of Education to track and publish bullying data alongside the academic data it already collects. The bill would also require individual districts to have anti-bullying policies that protect students based on disability and sexual orientation, among others—current law only covers bullying based on sex, race, and religion. The bill includes religious and free speech protections and offers districts training resources …