At Issue: April 30 - House/Senate Republicans Set Budget Targets; McKenna's Law Passes House

April 30, 2017 08:33 PM

House, Senate Republicans Set Budget Targets Heading into Negotiations with Gov. Dayton

With just about three weeks to go in the legislative session, all eyes are on whether lawmakers and Gov. Mark Dayton will reach a budget deal in time. On Friday, House and Senate Republicans released their joint budget targets, which is the next big step in the negotiation process. 

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Under these proposed targets, most areas would see increases in spending from the 2016-17 biennium to the 2018-19 biennium.

Education: $1.14 billion increase

Health & Human Services: $2.05 billion increase

Higher Education: $113 million increase

Public Safety: $87 million increase

Taxes/Aid: $114 million increase

Agriculture: $1 million Increase

State Government/Jobs/Environment/Reinsurance/Bonding/Misc.: -$515 million

The budget targets also include $372 million in new transportation funding and $1.15 billion in tax relief.

DFLers and Dayton say they are disappointed in the Republicans' budget targets. Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, went so far as to say their math is phony and that they'll end up doing more damage in the long run.

House and Senate Republicans want to come to additional budget target agreements with Dayton by the end of the week.

"McKenna's Law" Passes Unanimously in House, Headed to Senate

This week, the House unanimously passed a bill that aims to preserve the rights of abused and neglected children. It stems in part from a 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS investigation that revealed examples of juvenile victims forced to fend for themselves despite state law saying they're entitled to a lawyer. The bill is named after McKenna Ahrenholz, a 12-year-old who, along with her siblings, was shuffled between foster homes and their actual home where they were forced to live with their abusive father. Despite a state law and the help of social workers and a guardian ad litem, McKenna said no one told her that she was entitled to her own lawyer who could make sure McKenna's voice was heard.

The bill was sponsored by Rep. Ron Kresha, R-Little Falls, and passed unanimously in the House on Thursday. It's expected to be passed by the Senate and signed into law by Dayton. Kresha says it's not clear how much the bill will cost, but he promised he and other lawmakers will find a way to fund it. 

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Amanda Theisen

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

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