The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

May 19, 2013

Minn. lawmakers take budget debate down to wire

ST. PAUL — The final pieces of Minnesota's next two-year budget were falling into place Sunday amid a time crunch for lawmakers to get it all approved.

The state House worked past sunrise, pulling an all-nighter that started with votes on major budget issues, including a $15.7 billion for public education. The marathon session ended just after 7 a.m. Sunday, after five hours of debate on a Democratic bill that gives unions power to organize certain private daycare workers and home care attendants for the elderly and disabled.

That measure, which drew demonstrators from both sides to the Capitol on Saturday, awaits a final vote as Republicans vowed to extend debate for many more hours.

The House and Senate were back in session by early afternoon, with the Senate planning to take up the education budget. Also up for likely House and Senate votes was the legislation to help pay for the school spending hikes: A package containing $2 billion in tax increases on smokers, corporations and people with six-figure incomes.

Democratic majorities are racing to beat Monday's midnight deadline, but debate over the union organizing bill threatened to slow things down. Republicans prepared more than 100 amendments to fight the measure, which they argued was driven by a connected political interest.

Labor unions gave big to Democrats in the last election, but party leaders insisted the bill was about giving workers a louder collective voice if they decided to unionize.

"This bill doesn't tell day care providers how to raise their kids," said Rep. Michael Nelson, DFL-Brooklyn Park. "It's about giving people a voice in their job. It's about giving people a choice in their workplace."

Republicans, including Rep. Mary Franson of Alexandria, raised fears of "intimidation and harassment" by union organizers if they are allowed to try organizing the workers.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
State, national news
  • 1 hurt in fiery Twin Cities interstate crash ROSEVILLE, Minn. (AP) — Authorities say one person was hurt in a fiery crash involving four vehicles on a Twin Cities interstate. The crash on Interstate 35 brought morning traffic to a halt during a rainy commute. The Minnesota State Patrol says a

    July 25, 2014

  • Black box found at Air Algerie wreckage site PARIS (AP) — French soldiers recovered a black box from the Air Algerie wreckage site in a desolate region of restive northern Mali on Friday, officials said. Terrorism hasn't been ruled out as a cause, although officials say the most likely reason f

    July 25, 2014

  • Ukraine reports overnight rebel attacks on border MOSCOW (AP) — The Ukrainian army on Friday claimed that soldiers came under artillery fire from the Russian side of the border overnight and were attacked by rebels in several other places in the restive east. Ukrainian forces are trying to close in

    July 25, 2014

  • Deal still elusive for Gaza cease-fire CAIRO (AP) — Turbulent negotiations to broker a temporary truce in the Gaza Strip are continuing against the backdrop of fresh Israeli attacks on Palestinian militants. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met twice Friday in Cairo with U.N. chief Ban

    July 25, 2014

  • Transcript shows concerns during Arizona execution FLORENCE, Ariz. (AP) — U.S. District Judge Neil V. Wake was attending a ceremony for a judicial colleague when he received an urgent — and unusual — request: Lawyers for a condemned inmate wanted him to stop an execution that didn't seem to be workin

    July 25, 2014

  • Sniper-Author-Ventura [Duplicate] Day 3 of deliberations ends in Ventura lawsuit Jury has deliberated 19 hours

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Man accused of stealing from group HASTINGS (AP) — An Apple Valley man is charged with five counts of theft for allegedly stealing more than $113,000 from a Rosemount youth athletics group. Sixty-two-year-old Robert Steven Reischauer was the former finance manager of the Rosemount Ar

    July 24, 2014

  • Sanders offers lower-cost bill to reform VA Bill would allow vets to go to private doctors

    July 24, 2014

  • Wetland Loss [Duplicate] Report says Prairie Pothole region losing wetlands BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Federal officials and conservationists say a recent report detailing wetland losses in the five-state Prairie Pothole Region over the past decade highlights the need for increased protection for the region that provides breeding

    July 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • France: Air Algerie flight vanishes over N Mali ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) — An Air Algerie flight carrying 116 people from Burkina Faso to Algeria's capital disappeared from radar early Thursday over northern Mali, the plane's owner and a French government official said. Air navigation services lost

    July 24, 2014