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Senate Media Services

Addressing Housing and Homelessness

A new apartment complex called Identity Dinkytown near the University of Minnesota has delayed opening, leaving the students who signed leases with limited housing options as the fall semester begins. Senator Lindsey Port, DFL-Burnsville, Chair of the Senate Housing and Homelessness Prevention Committee and Senator Eric Lucero, R-Saint Michael, Lead Republican of the committee, join Capitol Report moderator Shannon Loehrke to talk about the unfinished Dinkytown apartment complex, reforming landlord/tenant laws, the high cost of housing in Minnesota and homelessness prevention efforts.

Also in the program, historian Brian Pease explains the history and significance of the battle flags on display in the Minnesota State Capitol.

Changing the Metropolitan Council / Managing Driver’s License Backlogs / Previewing Transportation Issues

The 2023 legislative session prompted the formation a task force to study and evaluate options to reform and reconstitute the Metropolitan Council, a regional taxing authority, planning agency and provider of services like sewage, parks, and transportation in the Twin Cities. Senator Scott Dibble, DFL-Minneapolis, chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, joins Capitol Report moderator Shannon Loehrke to talk about the task force, the latest with the Southwest Light Rail Transit project, driver’s license testing backlogs and to preview issues likely to come up in the 2024 legislative session.

Minnesota Public Radio and Fox9 News recently reported that parents and teenagers are again frustrated by difficulties in navigating the system for scheduling a road test as part of getting a driver's license. Senator Karin Housley, R-Stillwater, authored a bill in 2020 that would allow third parties to offer road tests. She plans to reintroduce the proposal in the coming legislative session and joins Shannon to outline the details.

Also in the program, highlights from an informational Senate hearing regarding the unfinished Dinkytown apartment complex that has left a number of students at University of Minnesota without a place to live. Plus, the second meeting of the Legislative Task Force on Aging yields public testimony from advocates for older Minnesotans.

Keeping School Resource Officers / Getting Back to School

Republican lawmakers, law enforcement officers and school officials have recently called on Governor Tim Walz to convene a special legislative session in order to repeal or amend a new law that prohibits school staff, including School Resource Officers, from using certain physical restraints on students. On this week's program, Senator Zach Duckworth, R-Lakeville, ranking member of the Senate Education Policy Committee, is leading the effort to change the law, and he joins Capitol Report moderator Shannon Loehrke to explain why.

Minnesota students are back in the classroom, just months after a legislative session that saw new policies signed into law and a boost in public school funding. Senator Steve Cwodzinski, DFL-Eden Prairie, chair of the Senate Education Policy Committee, discusses the recent concerns over School Resource Officers, standardized test scores and some of the changes coming to Minnesota’s schools.

Visiting with Lawmakers at the State Fair

At the great Minnesota Get Together, host Shannon Loehrke visits with lawmakers about a variety of topics, including issues they plan on addressing in the next legislative session, ways the pandemic has changed society and unique attributes of Minnesota. Plus, a new legislative task force on aging outlines goals, and Governor Tim Walz appoints a new chief justice and associate justice to the Minnesota Supreme Court.

Republican Lawmakers Call for Repeal of Law Impacting School Resource Officers

A 2023 provision in the education policy bill has raised concerns among police agencies that provide school resource officer services. Specifically, the law prohibits school resource officers from using bodily prone restraints and certain physical holds on students in non-emergency situations. According to Blaine Police Chief Brian Podany, School Resource Officers are being pulled from schools due to the ambiguity over when bodily restraints are allowed. Republican lawmakers called for a special legislative session to repeal the law in an effort to ensure schools may maintain their contracts for school resource officers.