MN Lawmakers Tackle Legislation, Clock in Final Hours

By KBJR News 1

May 20, 2013 Updated May 21, 2013 at 5:14 PM CDT

St. Paul, MN (NNCNOW.com) - It was down to the wire for both the House and Senate as lawmakers tackled the final few important pieces of legislation.

After about 10 hours of debate throughout the weekend, lawmakers approved a bill allowing daycare provider to unionize in a close 68-66 vote, sending it to the Governor's desk.

"Now finally we're going to be able to talk to folks and let them know the benefits of being a part of a collective bargaining unit because the more our sisters stand with us on these things, the stronger we become," said Karla Scapanski, a daycare provider.

"It's very disappointing we've known this is a bad bill from the beginning it's not fair, it shouldn't even have gone through committee for it to make it this far is really disappointing," said Natalie Marose, a childcare provider opposed to the measure.

Meanwhile, Senators were set to take action on a two billion dollar tax package that includes taxing the state's wealthiest and boosts taxes on cigarettes by $1.60 a pack.

The bill aims to close a 627 million dollar deficit.

"It's an exact result of one party being in control of all three; House, Senate and Governor and working together, and I think we will see a good product," said Sen. David Tomassoni (DFL-Chisholm).

"There is a lot of room for improvement," said Sen. David Hann (R-Senate Minority Leader). "We are not happy with overall structure of the budget, we think we can do this better; we don't need more money to solve our state budget problems."

One part of the tax bill that was left out of the final version called for a tax surcharge to help pay back money owed to schools.

"It would have given Minnesota the highest income tax rate in the country which is not a very appealing starting point," said Sen. Roger Reinert (DFL-Duluth)

"We believe we will have it paid off in 2014, that money we borrowed from the schools will be paid off by next year. Additionally there will be new money in the formula as well," said Rep. Carly Melin (DFL-Chisholm)

The Minnesota House was also expected to vote on a minimum wage hike Monday.

Both legislative bodies are required to adjourn before the midnight deadline.

DFL & GOP leaders will discuss details of the $38 billion budget Tuesday.

Kevin Jacobsen
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