Votes ahead for state budget billsPublished 10:07am Monday, April 15, 2013
ST. PAUL — A week of votes on a slate of budget bills is ahead in the Minnesota Legislature, which is braced for long hours.
The House planned to start with an economic development bill, which contains incentives for companies that expand their presence and hire more people. It also includes controversial provisions intended to discourage lockouts during labor disputes.
In the Senate, a bill to fund core state agencies — from the Department of Revenue to the Department of Veterans Affairs — is first up. That bill also calls for the first pay hikes for many elected officials since the late 1990s.
Once a pairing of bills passes off each floor, the real budget negotiations begin. Lawmakers have until mid-May to finish their work. The new budget takes effect on July 1.
In the Albert Lea area, a bonding bill includes:
• $3 million for the main building at Riverland Community College and for demolition of the Gateway Building.
• $1.7 million in higher education asset preservation and repairs funding to make improvements to the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system at the Riverland campus.
• $1.5 million toward the cleanup of Fountain Lake in Albert Lea.
• $2 million for the Blazing Star Trail.