Lawmakers rolled out the first bills of the 2011 session, with Republicans in the Senate marking their new-found control of the chamber with proposals they pushed relentlessly in the minority.
Senate file number one got a grand kickoff in a Capitol news conference Monday morning, as the Republican caucus lined up behind GOP Sen. Geoff Michel to talk about their “jobs bill.”
The proposal aims to cut the business income tax by half in the next six years, roll back and freeze business property taxes to 2009 levels and ease regulations and streamline the permitting process, Michel said. The proposal will cost $200 million, Michel said, a number he hopes to figure into the state’s budget this year.
While Michel admits the proposal will likely be reworked through the committee process and may not shape up until the end of session, GOP senators wanted to make a symbolic statement with a “jobs bill” as their first package.
“I hope it can become a marquee issue of this session,” he said. Michel will carry the bill with Majority Leader Amy Koch.
The full text of the bills aren’t available yet, but here’s a brief rundown of the Minnesota Senate’s first 20 bills of session.
S.F. 2: The second Senate file will look at an issue many rural candidates discussed on the campaign trail: restoring Green Acres classifications to pre-2008 status. Not surprisingly, rural Senate President Michele Fischbach is joined by two rural freshman legislators – Sen. Al DeKruif and Sen. Sean Nienow – in carrying the proposal. The bill will head to the Taxes panel.
S.F. 3: Fischbach is joined by Sen. Mike Parry, Sen. Paul Gazelka and freshman senators Dan Hall and Ted Lillie on a bill providing for zero-based budgeting. The proposal will be heard in Parry’s State Government Innovation and Veterans Committee.
S.F. 4: Koch has been working to repeal the ban to build new nuclear power plants in the state for awhile, and as promised, a bill relating to the issue is one of the first out of the gate. She is joined by senators DeKruif, Michele Benson, and Dan Brown. It will be heard in the Energy Utilities and Telecommunications Committee.
S.F. 5: While he may no longer be the leader of the state Senate, Larry Pogemiller is the first Democrat on the list to introduce a bill, proposing a commission to recommend boundaries for the upcoming redistricting process. That will head to the Rules committee.
S.F. 6: DFL Sen. Katie Sieben made the list as well, bringing a bill that would modify insurance for part-time employees. The bill is heading to the Jobs and Economic Growth Committee.
S.F. 7: Sieben is joined by GOP Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen in her push to ban synthetic marijuana. The proposal will be heard in the Judiciary and Public Safety panel.
S.F. 8: A swath of DFLers joined up to bring a Health and Human Services bill “guaranteeing that all necessary health care is available and affordable for every Minnesotan,” according to introductions. That includes starting the Minnesota Health Plan, Minnesota Health Board, Minnesota Health Fund, Office of Health Quality and Planning, an ombudsman for “patient advocacy,” and an inspector general for the Minnesota Health Plan. Senate Minority leader Tom Bakk is joined by DFL senators John Marty, Patricia Torres Ray and Linda Scheid in carrying the bill, which will be heard in the HHS Committee.
S.F. 9: Pogemiller and former Senate Finance head Dick Cohen will bring a proposal that requires the state’s commissioner of the Minnesota Management and Budget office to adjust the forecast for projected inflation. It will be heard in the Senate’s Finance Committee.
S.F. 10: Another Pogemiller-Cohen joint bill. The two aim to require the Legislature and governor to balance the budget for an additional biennium. The proposal will be heard in the Taxes Committee.
S.F. 11: Sen. Keith Langseth brings a bill that reduces the corporate tax rate while eliminating certain loopholes for businesses. The bill will head to the Taxes Committee.
S.F. 12: Freshman Sen. Paul Gazelka, who served a prior term in the state House, will bring a bill to put term limits in place for legislators. The bill will be heard in the Local Government and Elections panel.
S.F. 13:GOP senators Gen Olson, Warren Limmer, Benjamin Kruse, and DFL senators Terri Bonoff and Ann Rest bring a bill that provides variances from city, county and town zoning controls and ordinances. The bill will be heard in the Local Government and Elections Committee.
S.F. 14: Sen. Charles Wiger is taking an industrious approach to the session. Senate files 14 through 20 all come from the Maplewood Democrat, starting with a bill to establish an outcome-based personal care assistance pilot project, to be heard in the HHS Committee.
S.F. 15: Wiger’s second bill of the session aims to get bonding money to renovate the Harriet Tubman Center East in his hometown of Maplewood. That will go to the Capital Investment Committee.
S.F. 16: This resolution asks Congress to appoint an independent counsel to investigate the Prisoner of War – Missing in Action issue. It will be heard in the State Government Innovation and Veterans Committee.
S.F. 17: Wiger seeks to reduce the size of the Legislature with this proposal, and prevent the division of a Senate District during the formation of a Congressional District in the redistricting process. The bill will head to the State Government Innovation and Veterans panel.
S.F. 18: This transportation proposal seeks to prohibit the use of cell phones while driving. It will be heard in the Transportation Committee.
S.F. 19 and 20: The final two bills both deal with education and increasing the compulsory attendance age. Both will be heard in the Education Committee.