At Issue: April 23 - Budget Negotiations to Begin; Rep. Jason Lewis in Studio

April 23, 2017 06:47 PM

Lawmakers Return to Capitol with Less than One Month Left in Legislative Session

There is officially one month left in the 2017 Legislative Session. In that time, lawmakers must agree on a two-year budget plan with Gov. Mark Dayton. Budget negotiations are just getting started, along with more debate on some other controversial issues.


The Senate passed the Preemption Bill on Thursday, which would prevent cities and counties from setting their own labor-related laws such as minimum wage and paid sick leave. The bill is likely headed to a conference committee because there are differences between the Senate and House versions of the bill. Dayton has not taken an official stance on the bill.

A compromise on the REAL ID bill also appears to be in the works. Rep. Dennis Smith, R-Maple Grove, chair of the House/Senate conference committee on REAL ID, says a compromise would likely leave out a provision that would ban undocumented immigrants from obtaining a REAL ID-compliant license. The House version included that provision while the Senate bill did not. Dayton says he would be open to signing a compromise bill that stays silent on the issue of drivers licenses for undocumented immigrants. Republican House Speaker Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, has indicated a compromise bill that doesn't include this ban would have a hard time passing in the House.

Rep. Jason Lewis Discusses New "Obamacare" Repeal/Replace Attempt, Responds to "Town Hall" Demands

Minnesota Republican Congressman Jason Lewis, of the state's 2nd Congressional District, joined Tom Hauser in studio this week. Lewis and other members of Congress will return to Washington, D.C. next week following a two-week break for Easter/Passover. 

Lewis discussed a number of issues, including a new attempt by Republicans to come up with a plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. The first attempt, the American Health Care Act, was pulled from the House floor the day it was supposed to get a vote. While President Donald Trump and Republican leaders initially expressed a desire to move onto other issues, other Republicans have been working on new plan that could gain more support from hard-line conservatives. 

Lewis also addressed a nationwide effort to get members of Congress, who have yet to hold in-person town hall meetings, to do so. It's been widely reported that several town halls held by Republican lawmakers have been interrupted by protesters. A group of demonstrators confronted Lewis outside a Dakota County Chamber of Commerce event in Apple Valley earlier this month and demanded he hold a town hall. Lewis spoke with the demonstrators and said he would hold one soon, but that it would need to be worked around his schedule in Washington, D.C. He stressed that constituents can get in touch with him in many ways, including by telephone, email or social media. 


Amanda Theisen

Copyright 2017 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company