At Issue - May 18: 2014 Legislative Session in Review

Updated: 05/19/2014 2:21 PM By: Heidi Enninga

In this week's edition of At Issue, host Tom Hauser takes an in-depth look at the local political issues that affect you.

The 2014 legislative session is over, and as is typical, it was a race to the finish as lawmakers passed bill after bill before the final gavel and constitutional deadline on Friday.

The bonding bill passed the House and Senate with ease on Friday morning. It calls for about a $1 billion in building projects around the state with $846 million borrowed and $200 million in cash. The University of Minnesota is allotted $240 million, Capitol renovations $126 million and transportation projects $100 million. Some Republicans still say the bill gives too much priority to the metro area.

Lawmakers in the House and Senate reached a compromise to pass the historic medical marijuana bill. Two manufacturers will be able to distribute the drug in oil, vapor, or pill form at eight distribution sites. Once the bill is signed, Minnesota will be the 22nd state to have legalized medical marijuana. Gov. Dayton said he will sign it.

E-cigarettes will now be regulated by a new bill that prohibits their use or purchase by minors, bans their sale at kiosks, prohibits their use in government buildings, schools and day cares and requires child-proof packaging.

As part of the same bill, minors will no longer be able to use tanning beds.

A bill allowing for Sunday liquor sales didn’t make the cut this session, but the governor signed an omnibus liquor bill, which does allow bars in Hennepin County to stay open until 4 a.m. for the MLB All-Star Game this summer and beer sales to continue at the University of Minnesota’s TCF Bank Stadium.

Minnesota became the first state in the nation on Wednesday to require kill switches for smartphones and tablets sold here. The law will go into effect next year as a way to cut down on thefts of the devices.

In Political Analysis, former DFL state Sen. Ember Reichgott Junge and Sarah Janecek, a Republican strategist, joined Tom Hauser in the studio to talk about the impact of the legislative session on fall elections.

State DFL party chair Ken Martin and Keith Downey, MN Republican party chair, joined Tom Hauser to talk about the work ahead for the parties now that the session is over and candidates turn their attention to voters.