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Leadership reflects on week, telegraphs the next

Jake Grovum//January 14, 2011

Leadership reflects on week, telegraphs the next

Jake Grovum//January 14, 2011


Meeting with reporters at the Capitol Friday morning, GOP and DFL leadership reflected on the week that was in the Legislature and what’s most likely to be next on the agenda.

Here’s a list of notable comments and projections:

Senate President Michelle Fischbach said she expects the Senate to continue work on developing and passing its jobs bill which would reduce corporate taxes by $200 million and pare back some regulations. GOP Senate leaders Amy Koch and Geoff Michel are carrying the bill.

Fischbach said she doesn’t expect Senate committees to take up the nuclear power plant moratorium repeal next week. Republican leaders from both chambers said they don’t anticipate the nuclear repeal will be fast-tracked, saying it has yet to work through a number of committees.

There’s currently no set timeline for the Senate to start confirmation hearings for commissioner appointees, Fischbach said, and they could start anytime from now until March. She added, however, that there have been no “red flags” on anyone appointed thus far.

Majority Leader Matt Dean said the House education policy committee will continue its work on a proposal to OK alternative teacher licensing. The committee held two hearing this week on the proposal, and chairwoman Rep. Sondra Erickson has indicated the committee will take up the proposal on Tuesday and Thursday of next week.

The House Redistricting Committee, chaired by Rep. Sarah Anderson, will begin looking at census data on Tuesday, Dean said.

This week saw continuing DFL criticism of the Republicans’ willingness to consider legislation — voter ID, for example — that doesn’t directly relate to the state’s $6.2 billion budget deficit. Dean said Friday that while Gov. Mark Dayton has said he’ll have his budget proposal to the Legislature by Feb. 15, the GOP might have some specific budget-cutting proposals ready to be made public before then.

Fischbach and Dean both said they suspect the votes are there in each chamber to pass the voter ID legislation, but said there’s no timeline for its passage. Dean said he wants it to move forward, but added that it’s not a top priority.

Responding to a question about Sen. David Hann’s proposal to block the early Medical Assistance expansion (which we noted here), Fischbach, Dean and Assistant Majority Leader Dave Thompson said continuing review of both the expansion and any flexibility Minnesota might have with relation to federal mandates under the health reform law is a worthwhile exercise.

DFL Minority Leader Paul Thissen and Assistant DFL Senate Caucus Leader Terri Bonoff said they continue to be concerned with proposals that they said won’t fix the state’s budget deficit or high unemployment.

Thissen said he hasn’t done a vote count in his caucus on the voter ID issue.

Bonoff, who’s a co-sponsor of the Senate’s alternative teacher licensing proposal, said the Education Committee — chaired by Sen. Gen Olson — will begin work on that issue next week. Daniel Sellers, executive director of Teach For America, Twin Cities, is expected to testify before the committee Wednesday afternoon.

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