1) The Senate will release the last remaining proposal to fund public infrastructure on Monday, filling in the final set of blanks that will precede a potential end-of-session deal.
House and Senate Democrats will be publicly negotiating around an $850 million bonding package — plus $200 million in cash spending — but will continue fighting with Republicans behind the scenes for a $1.2 billion bill, which Gov. Mark Dayton called for in his State of the State address. GOP lawmakers appear unwilling to break a deal from last session to limit GO bonding to $1 billion for the biennium.
“This is the one we have the furthest to go on,” House Speaker Paul Thissen said.
2) Different proposals to allow medical marijuana in Minnesota have continued advancing through the Legislature, despite presumed opposition from the governor’s office, Minnesota Public Radio reports.
A more relaxed Senate proposal passed through a committee on Friday, but a provision that allowed smoking marijuana was removed from the package. A House bill that calls for clinical trials of medical marijuana passed through a House panel on Friday as well. The Senate bill will be heard in the Finance Committee on Monday, while the House measure will be heard in the Ways and Means Committee.
3) Former DFL Congressman Jim Oberstar, a longtime transportation advocate who served in the U.S. House for 36 years, died in his sleep at 79 on Saturday, MinnPost reports.
Oberstar was ousted from his 8th Congressional District seat in 2010 by Republican Chip Cravaack. The seat was subsequently reclaimed by DFLer Rick Nolan in 2012. The race for the seat this year will be close, by most observer’s accounts.
Oberstar will be remembered for his work on transportation efforts, and he had been chairman of the House Transportation Committee.
“”It’s a devastating shock,” Nolan said on Saturday. “Jim Oberstar’s death is a tragic loss for his family, his friends, his state, the nation and all of us up in northeastern Minnesota.”
COMINGS & GOINGS