KIMT News 3 – Minnesota Legislators enjoyed the weekend at home after they wrapped up at the capital Friday night.
But in their three months there, a lot was accomplished.
“What we really did see is a lot of new laws,” says Senator Carla Nelson.
“Some of those new laws include gun control for domestic abusers, progressive minimum wage hikes, gender equality, and a top priority; capital investment.
“The number one job of the legislature was to do that capital investment bonding bill and we did do that on the last day of session,” she adds.
Lawmakers approved over 1 billion dollars for various public works projects. A few of those will include bridge repairs, maintaining higher education facilities, work on the Mayo Civic Center, and the restoration of Fountain Lake in Albert Lea. Which means a lot to some residents.
“I think that there’s just a lot of potential for the lakes, so hopefully that will be a step in the right direction,” says resident Sandra Jimenez.
Another area that needed looked at this session was anti-bullying.
“We really did need to update our anti-bullying laws,” says Nelson.
One fourth grader would agree.
“Like my experience was, girls would tell me that I am too overweight or that I don’t fit in with the school and they would just leave me out of everything,” says fourth grader Quincy Jimenez. But nothing is done about it. “Can you help me, can you help me and I really didn’t get the help that I need,” she says.
So this legislation might help. It requires schools to hire one anti-bullying personnel for every building among submitting reports and providing more extensive training.
Lawmakers expected the anti-bullying bill to pass, but others were a little more surprising.
“Then there were some other things that were just kind of unexpected. One had to do with medical marijuana. That was a bill that was on and then it was off the table and then it was on and off and on and off finally the last day of session, medical marijuana passed,” Nelson tells us.
The House and Senate bills were very different but, partially because of some compelling family stories, a compromise was reached. It legalizes medical marijuana in pill and oil forms to relieve medical problems, including extreme seizures and will be distributed in 8 centers across the state.
“I feel like, you know, if it is prescribed in an appropriate manner and if it’s monitored real closely , then I’m fine with it. If it’s going to help the person that’s using it,” says Sandra Jimenez.
Lawmakers say another surprise was getting this much accomplished!
We’re told another success this session was lawmakers were able to overturn some of last year’s historically high tax hikes.
Overall, it was a productive few months for the state of Minnesota.