Eleventh Hour For Lawmakers in St. Paul

Lawmakers have 20 days to negotiate final bills before the end of session.

Image Credit: Preya Samsundar/Alpha News MN

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Lawmakers in St. Paul have less than three weeks to finalize several bills before the end of the legislative session. Here are three bills Minnesotans should could keep their eyes on.

Bills Regarding Immigrant Communities

Two bills are currently making their way through the Minnesota House aimed at helping the health and welfare of Minnesota’s immigrant communities.

HF 2630, authored by Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minneapolis) seeks funding for an immunization grant program that would target specific areas that would be considered high-risk for outbreaks of illness like measles.

“The best thing that we can do, today, is to act and make sure no more children are put in harm’s way,” Omar said on the House floor Monday. The bill seeks $500,000 in 2018 for the program that seeks to educate these high-risk communities of the benefits in vaccination.

The Cedar-Riverside community, which Omar represents, has been ground zero for the measles outbreak in the Twin Cities. 29 of the 33 children who have measles have been identified as Somali children. 

Rep. Mary Franson (R-Alexandria) authored HF 2621 in response to a report out of Detroit, MI that a female doctor had performed female genital mutilation (FGM) on several young girls, including a 7-year-old from Minnesota.

As reported by Alpha News, Franson’s bill would bring criminal charges against the parents of young girls who authorize an FGM procedure on their child.

“I was appalled to learn that parents who abuse their girls in this life-scarring way are not held responsible for the crime,” Franson told Alpha News.

So far, no Democratic legislators from the Minnesota House have signed onto the bill. Reps. Bud Nornes (R-Fergus Falls), Jerry Hertaus (R-Greenfield), Linda Runbeck (R-Circle Pines), Abigail Whelan (R-Ramsey), Kathy Lohmer (R-Stillwater), Cindy Pugh (R-Chanhassen), and Peggy Scott (R-Andover) have signed on as authors to the bill. The Civil Law and Data Practices Policy Committee will hold a hearing on Franson’s bill  on Wednesday.

Real ID

Real ID is currently in a stand still. Members of the House and Senate can agree on everything but one thing, whether or not illegal immigrants should have access to a driver’s license. The Real ID legislation in 2016 also failed due to this conflict.

After the bill failed earlier this year in the Senate, Republicans went back, removed the line with the offending language, and passed the bill.

However, House Speaker Kurt Daudt (R-Crown) is adamant that the Real ID bill will have the illegal immigrant clause when it passes both chambers.

The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce is pushing for the passage of Real ID.

“Dayton this session is doing everything he can possibly do to give driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants in the state of Minnesota,” Daudt said to convention goers in St. Cloud on Saturday. He reassured delegates that House Republicans would not allow the language to pass.

Republicans have until the end of session to pass a bill that Gov. Mark Dayton will sign, otherwise Minnesotans will not be able to board a plan come January 2018.