Senator Patricia Torres Ray, DFL-Minneapolis, and House Public Safety Chair Carlos Mariani, DFL-St. Paul, called for a series of gun safety initiatives in response to the recent elementary school shooting in Texas. They addressed the media at a State Capitol press conference Thursday, May 26.
Mariani called upon state lawmakers to take action on a series of proposals, including red flag legislation, which allows law enforcement officials to take away firearms from at-risk individuals. He also advocated for measures to improve background checks on gun purchases and establish safe storage requirements.
"Gun violence destroys lives and rips apart communities, and we elected officials do nothing," Mariani said. "Legislative proposals abound for how to stop and how to change the course of gun violence, but lack of ideas is not the problem. Lack of will, lack of caring, lack of character, lack of commitment by those elected to make laws is the problem," he said.
Governor Tim Walz, along with key legislators, held a ceremonial bill signing for the omnibus liquor bill, which includes the "free the growler" provision allowing brewers that make up to 150,000 barrels annually to sell 128 ounces of beer daily per customer. Previously, only smaller producers of 20,000 annual barrels were allowed to sell to customers.
Senators who will not be seeking re-election in 2022 bid farewell to their fellow members Monday, May 23, during a day dedicated to hearing their reflections on public service and the institution.
At least twenty-three Senators will not be returning to the Senate with the announced retirements, which will result in one-third of the body in 2023 being first term members.
Legislative leaders addressed the media Monday, May 23, following the adjournment of the Senate sine die. The budget framework agreement reached by Governor Tim Walz, Senate Majority Leader Jeremy Miller and House Speaker Melissa Hortman was left unfilled, as lawmakers failed to pass supplemental funding for education, public safety, the environment, public safety and state agencies. In addition, the major tax relief measure hailed by the tax chairs earlier in the week did not reach either House or Senate floors for a final vote.
Governor Walz said that negotiations throughout Sunday were productive, and he believed legislators will work to finalize the budget areas in the coming days.
Senate and House Tax Chairs Carla Nelson, R-Rochester, and Paul Marquart, DFL-Dilworth, celebrated their agreement on a tax bill at a State Capitol press conference Saturday, May 21. Minnesota currently has a $9.2 billion surplus, and the tax bill represents the largest portion of a supplemental spending framework agreement between Governor Tim Walz and legislative leaders.
If passed, the $3.9 billion tax bill would lower the first tier income tax rate by 0.25 percent, saving an average family $825 per year, remove state taxes on social security benefits and provide targeted property tax reductions.
“It is our duty to get these resources back into the hands of Minnesotans, to help them better afford their lives during this time of such skyrocketing inflation,” said Senator Nelson. “This is an historic tax bill,” said Representative Marquart. “We have, in this bill, the largest tax cuts in the history of this state,” he stated.
Earlier this week, House Speaker Melissa Hortman said that the tax bill is only one part of the framework agreement. Conference committees continue to work on omnibus bills in education, public safety, health and human services, state government, transportation, jobs and the environment. Because a tax bill must originate in the House, the DFL-led House is expected to hold it until deals are reached with the Republican-led Senate in other budget areas.
The deadline for passing bills in the current legislative session is 11:59 p.m. Sunday, May 22.