Minnesota Legislative Session Wraps After Busy Final Day

Updated: 05/17/2014 2:10 PM
Created: 05/17/2014 10:13 AM

The Minnesota Legislature wrapped up its annual session Friday, ending a busy final day for lawmakers who approved bills for more tax cuts, additional state spending, construction projects and legalized medical marijuana.

After a decade of attempts, the Senate and the House passed the historic medical marijuana bill Friday night with wide bipartisan support.

The medical marijuana bill is now headed to the governor's desk for his signature. This bill that passed was a scaled-down version of the original bill circulating the senate.

It prohibits the smoking of the marijuana plant and doesn't give access to patients with post-traumatic stress disorder or chronic pain.

The other big projects to pass were the billion dollar bonding bill, full of building projects around the state, a budget bill that increases spending on education, public safety and broadband development.

But while both sides agree that a lot got done this session and though many bills were passed with bipartisan support, Democrats and Republicans differ on the legacy of this session.

"We did get a tremendous amount accomplished with the minimum wage increase, the safe schools passage, additional tax cuts for Minnesotans, property tax cuts were going to pass today and a really, really good bonding bill," House Speaker and Democratic Rep. Paul Thissen said.

House GOP leader Rep Kurt Daudt said he sees things differently, referring to the $2 billion in tax increases last year before $550 million tax cut this year.

"As a result of this session, we have one of the highest tax increases in state history, we have the highest spending increase in state history at a time when Minnesota' economy was recovering. It was frankly necessary," Daudt said.

Gov. Mark Dayton praised the session in a statement released Friday night, calling it a "progressive" session.

Photo: KSTP/file

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