Prioritizing Minnesota's 2014 legislative session in the Arrowhead Region

By KBJR News 1

January 10, 2014 Updated Jan 10, 2014 at 8:02 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) - For lawmakers, Minnesota's upcoming legislative session will be about trimming the fat on state government, and getting the biggest bang for the taxpayer's buck when it comes to statewide projects.

Governor Dayton has used the term "un–session" to describe a legislative process he hopes will do away with outdated, or unpopular, state laws.

The idea behind it is that rather than add new laws, we should be working toward taking these outdated laws off the books to make state government more efficient, and effective, for Minnesota's residents.

One law that could face the chopping block is the Sunday liquor sales ban, as Minnesota is only one of 12 states with the ban still in effect.

But another major focus will be the passage of a bonding bill, which lawmakers hope will provide a billion dollars in revenue for statewide projects.

According to State Senator Roger Reinert, of Duluth, the Zenith city's priority projects include the NorShor Theatre, Wade Stadium renovations, and flood recovery efforts still needed at the Lake Superior Zoo.

Senator Reinert also hopes that getting a new water system at Spirit Mountain that would take the ski hill off city water lines makes the cut.

"It decreases a load on the city's water system, which is becoming an issue as we see more development occurring in the western part of the city," said Sen. Reinert on Friday.

State Representative Jason Metsa, of Virginia, says among the Iron Range's top priorities is securing funds for a new terminal at the Range Regional Airport, in Hibbing.

"I would say as long as interest rates are low, we should be taking advantage of the state, for the long–term benefit of the taxpayer, of borrowing the money when it's inexpensive to borrow," said Rep. Metsa on Thursday during a stop in Duluth.

Getting bonding money for upgrades at Giant's Ridge, and the Northeast Regional Corrections Center just outside of Duluth's city limits, are also priorities for Rep. Metsa.

The legislative session is scheduled to begin on February 25th.

It's not set in stone, but legislators expect the session to run for two months.

Billy Wagness
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