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MinnPost’s massive list of what the Minnesota Legislature passed (and didn’t pass) in 2024

The Minnesota State Capitol in St. Paul catches the sunlight on a cloudless day in May 2024.
Lorie Shaull
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Contributed via Flickr
The Minnesota State Capitol in St. Paul catches the sunlight on a cloudless day in May 2024.

Some efforts — like sports betting, housing reform and a bonding bill — lost steam this year. But Gov. Tim Walz is expected to sign most, if not all, of the bills that passed, including cannabis law changes and pay increases for Uber and Lyft drivers.

How do you try to follow up a legislative session like 2023 that was described by DFLers as transformational and by Republicans as “bonkers?”

You don’t. With far less money to spend, coming in the midst of a two-year, $71.5 billion spending plan passed last year, and with far less time available, Gov. Tim Walz and DFL legislative leaders lowered expectations. Their goals: Finish on time and without handing Republicans too many talking points for the fall election when all 134 House seats are on the ballot.

So what did they get done? And what did they hope to get done but didn’t, due to a lack of support among their own members or because they didn’t pass them before Sunday night’s deadline? While lawmakers are meeting Monday, the constitutional deadline to pass bills was no later than midnight Sunday.

Both the House and Senate erupted into chaos late Sunday night as the DFL ignored Republican shouts to pass the remaining omnibus bills, including a 1,430-page bill in the House that combined nine different bills. The green DFL votes on the board in both chambers prevailed amid shouts of “Point of Order!” “Follow the rules!” and “U-S-A!”

A copy of the 1,430-page mega-omnibus bill the Minnesota Legislature passed right before deadline. Bills that passed the 2024 Minnesota legislative session 

Cannabis changes

A lengthy update to the recreational cannabis law passed last year both tweaks the law and adopts requests made by the new Office of Cannabis Management. The most significant create a “vetted” lottery to distribute licenses when there are more applicants than licenses available and allow some applicants to get preapproved licenses and begin growing cannabis. The point of early cultivation is the have product ready when retail stores open sometime next spring. Background here.

‘Crossfading’ THC and alcoholic drinks: The broad cannabis bill gets rid of a provision in last year’s recreational marijuana bill that prohibited bars and restaurants from serving a THC beverage and an alcoholic beverage to the same person within five hours. It is replaced with a rule similar to alcohol sales that tell servers they can’t provide intoxicants to already intoxicated patrons. Background here.

Medical Home-grow changes: The bill allows medical cannabis patients to assign a caregiver to home-grow plants on the patient’s behalf if they are unable to. That caregiver must register with the state and can grow up to eight plants for themselves and eight plants for the medical cannabis patient. Background here.

City comprehensive plans

The large transportation, labor and housing bill includes two paragraphs that will end the four-year old lawsuit against the Minneapolis 2040 comprehensive plan and limit how environmental laws can be used to challenge city and suburban comp plans in the future. Background here.

The Minnesota House erupted into chaos late Sunday night, May 19, 2024, as the DFL ignored Republican shouts and passed the remaining omnibus bills, including a 1,430-page bill that combined nine different bills.
The Minnesota House erupted into chaos late Sunday night, May 19, 2024, as the DFL ignored Republican shouts and passed the remaining omnibus bills, including a 1,430-page bill that combined nine different bills.

Worker misclassification

The Transportation, Labor and Housing omnibus bill contains legislation aimed at combating what is termed misclassification of workers — a practice where workers who should be treated as employees are dubbed independent contractors instead. Bill proponents said currently independent contractors are not receiving benefits, are paying extra taxes, and have less job security. The bill works from a task force convened by the attorney general and an audit by the Office of Legislative Auditor. It also details who can qualify as independent contractors and increases penalties for fraud. Background here.

Uber/Lyft

A very late deal among Gov. Walz, DFL legislative leaders, Minneapolis and the two largest ride-share companies was reached Saturday evening but might have come at the expense of other bills as well as any bipartisan agreements. The deal would pay drivers $1.28 per mile and 31 cents per minute — a rate that backers said would increase pay by 20%. The deal was intended to provide statewide standards and prevent a threat by Uber and Lyft to end the service in Minnesota. But it also preempted local government control over rates. Background here.

School resource officers

The Legislature passed a law last year banning school resource officers and other adults from putting students in a prone position. Law enforcement officers objected, and many school resource officers were pulled from schools. The change signed by Gov. Tim Walz clarifies that prone restraints can be used on a limited basis.

Gun straw purchases

The bill that passed the Legislature in the mega omnibus bill would put stiffer penalties on straw purchases. Background here.

Binary triggers

A device or modification that allows a single-shot firearm to fire a shot on the pull and the release of a trigger, known as a binary trigger, will be illegal under the bill sent to the governor.

‘Mommy’ social media accounts

With the governor’s signature, Minnesota will be the first U.S. state to ban making money off of social media accounts that feature children. The bill also follows Illinois to require that profits from such accounts featuring older children be set aside for those children when they reach age 18. The bill has exceptions for child actors and models already covered under child labor law. Background here.

EMS office creation and funds

A bill sent to the governor secures $24 million in emergency aid to Minnesota’s Emergency Medical Services greater Minnesota and $6 million for a pilot program aimed at improving EMS delivery in Northeastern parts of the state. This bill also created a new Office of Emergency Medical Services to oversee Minnesota’s EMS network. Background here.

A copy of the 1,430-page mega-omnibus bill the Minnesota Legislature passed right before deadline on Sunday, May 19, 2024.
Contributed
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MinnPost photo by Peter Callaghan
A copy of the 1,430-page mega-omnibus bill the Minnesota Legislature passed right before deadline on Sunday, May 19, 2024.

Ticket fees

Gov. Tim Walz earlier this month signed into law the ‘Taylor Swift bill’ that requires ticket sellers to list the full ticket price, including fees, upfront on their websites. The bill number in the House was HF 1989 (if you know, you know). Background here.

Medical Debt

Called the Debt Fairness Act, the bill gives the attorney general authority to enforce new medical debt collection rules that ban such debt from being reported to credit bureaus, tells medical providers they can’t withhold treatment due to unpaid debt, keeps medical debt from being transferred to spouses and imposes ways to contest billing errors and stops collection while errors are being challenged. Background here.

Met Council Light Rail Governance

Last year, the two leading DFLers on transportation had had enough of what they saw as an unaccountable regional government. They created a task force to look into changing it from a body appointed by governors to one elected by district across the Twin Cities. That task force failed to reach agreement but the two — Sen. Scott Dibble and Rep. Frank Hornstein — included two provisions in a transportation omnibus bill they think will reign in the council. One would require extensive consultation between the Met Council and the state Department of Transportation on future light rail construction projects. The other would restrict the use of a regional sales tax adopted last year on light rail construction by requiring legislative approval. Background here.

Land sales on Indian reservations

An environmental omnibus bill sent to the governor would require county auditors to offer land for sale within reservation boundaries to the Indian reservation first, and accept the offer if it is equal to or more than the appraised value. Background here.

Nitrate cleanup

Nearly $5.8 million would go toward three state agencies to work on nitrate pollution as part of an environmental omnibus bill sent to the governor. Background here.

State nitrogen fertilizer purchasing reduction: State agencies must submit a report detailing amounts of nitrogen fertilizer purchased by state agencies under a bill sent to the governor. The state has a goal of reducing its purchase of nitrogen fertilizer by 25% by 2030 from the level reported in 2025.

ATV infrastructure

An environmental omnibus bill sent to the governor funds all-terrain vehicle infrastructure, setting aside $1.2 million to help construct and maintain a trail system and $1.5 million in funding for the all-terrain vehicle grant-in-aid program. Background here.

Ice rescue

County sheriffs incurred extra expenses from rescuing anglers and others from ice over the winter. An environmental omnibus bill sent to the governor sets aside reimbursement funding for ice search and rescue operations that caused departments to spend above their regular operating budget. The reimbursements are limited to 50% of the reimbursable costs, with a maximum aid of $5,000 per agency. Background here.

Broadband

The Transportation, Housing and Labor Supplemental Budget Bill sent to the governor requires the Office of Broadband Development to give priority to grant applications from organizations that follow specific labor rules including paying employees prevailing wage rates and providing certain employment benefits like training, and family health insurance coverage, among other things. The Minnesota Cable Communications Association advocated against this provision during the conference committee process, saying that it would add costs for broadband projects and prevent service providers from deploying broadband in areas still in need.

Midwifery licenses

The bill the governor signed into law in March allows midwives to obtain and administer certain medications as part of their practice. Background here.

Smudging

The bill allows Native American students or staff to conduct smudging on school grounds under staff supervision. It has been sent to the governor for his signature as part of the omnibus education policy bill. Background here.

Fix for last year’s tax bill error

State officials found an error in last year’s tax bill that would have cost some state taxpayers $350 million. The language fix was the first bill the Legislature sent to the governor, who signed it in February. The error didn’t affect current state revenue, since it applied to the 2024 tax year payable in 2025. Background here.

Gender affirming care

The Commerce Committee omnibus bill has a provision requiring health plans that offer physical and mental health services to cover “medically necessary gender-affirming care.” The bill has a religious beliefs exemption that would allow some health plans to not cover those services. Background here.

School cell phones

Schools must have a cell phone policy in place by March 2025 as part of an education bill sent to the governor. Background here.

Junk fees

Both houses adopted legislation to regulate — and ban — many so-called junk fees. Those are the add-on fees on some restaurant bills for services not included in the menu prices. The bill requires businesses to disclose the full price of products or services, including all mandated fees at the beginning of the transaction, not at the end. Background here.

Packaging waste

An environmental omnibus bill sent to the governor would require producers of packaging waste to contribute to a state waste reduction and recycling program. Background here.

Permitting reform

Lawmakers passed a large clean energy bill last year, but this year’s energy bill includes changes designed to speed up the permitting of clean energy projects. Background here.

Voting Rights Act

Backers of the provision sought to insert in state law protections in the federal Voting Rights Act that have been reduced by court decisions. In addition to adding laws against voter suppression and dilution of minority voters through redistricting, it tells courts to interpret election laws to support voters over other interests.

No book bans

An education policy bill that prohibits public and school libraries from banning a book “based solely on its viewpoint or the messages, ideas or opinions it conveys” is headed to the governor’s desk. Background here.

Bills that did not pass

Equal Rights Amendment

After 14 and a half hours of debate and 14 unsuccessful attempts to amend it, a broad amendment to the state constitution passed the state House early Sunday. But it did not come to a vote in the Senate before adjournment. The amendment would protect gender rights as would the version of the amendment that passed the Senate last May with nine GOP votes. But the House version covers abortion access and provides more specific gender identity protections. It also did not include “creed” and “age” among the protected classes. It would have been on the November, 2026 ballot so supporters say they will try again with the next Legislature following the fall election. Gov. Walz has rejected calls for a special session this year.

Bonding

A last-minute cash bonding bill was brought forward Sunday night in the House Rules and Legislative Administration Committee. While the bill passed in the House on Sunday, it was just under a minute too late on the Senate floor and did not pass.

Sports betting

A bipartisan group of lawmakers worked out a deal Sunday but it was too late to push it through before deadline. Background here.

Missing middle housing

A bill that would have required cities to allow duplexes, triplexes and other “missing middle” housing types in single family zones in larger cities was pulled after cities opposed the change. It was central to a broad coalition seeking increased housing density in cities and suburbs. Background here.

Multifamily housing

A bill aimed at making it easier to build multifamily housing in commercial zones died in a Senate committee. The purpose was to prevent local governments from using zoning to prevent increased housing density and affordable housing projects.. Background here.

Housing voucher requirements

A proposed statewide law that would not allow landlords to reject tenants solely because they intended to pay rent with government rent vouchers such as the federal Section 8 voucher program was removed from a housing bill after one DFL senator opposed it. Background here.

Met Council elections

Some lawmakers had hoped to make the members of the Metropolitan Council subject to local elections rather than being appointed. But a task force assigned to study the council’s governance structure didn’t include that among its recommendations, and ultimately there wasn’t enough support for the reform. Changes to how the council manages big construction projects were included in the transportation omnibus. Background here.

Full-time Legislature

A proposed constitutional amendment to change time limits placed on legislative sessions saw committee action but did not advance for floor votes. The same measure would have asked voters to create a non-legislative redistricting commission and limit when former legislators could lobby. Background here.

Local ranked choice voting

Some language in the elections omnibus bill included ranked choice voting among the types of elections local governments can use. But to expand the election system beyond a handful of so-called charter cities required a separate bill. In a rare occurrence, when that bill was brought to the House floor Sunday it failed to receive enough votes to pass. While the vote was 66-62, bills need 68 yes votes to pass. Background here.

Beer in grocery stores

Early in the session a DFL senator suggested there was bipartisan support for allowing strong beer to be sold in Minnesota grocery stores. The measure didn’t get off the ground this year, again, falling victim to an unofficial agreement that no additional liquor law changes would be considered after a broad bill passed in 2022. Background here.

Lost/stolen gun reporting requirements

Though DFL lawmakers passed straw purchasing penalties and a binary trigger ban, they weren’t able to pass a reporting requirement through the narrowly held Senate. Background here.

Safe gun storage

A bill that would require gun owners to lock and unload their firearms to safely store them also didn’t make it to the Senate floor due to a lack of votes within the DFL’s one-seat majority.

End-of-life Options Act

The bill that would have allowed medical aid in dying, also referred to as physician-assisted suicide, saw action in the House but not the Senate. Background here.

Statewide $15 minimum wage

A proposal to increase the statewide minimum wage did not make it past committee or to either chamber’s floor. Background here.

Low-carbon fuel standard

A bill establishing a Clean Transportation Standard, known also as a low carbon fuel standard, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions never made it out of the Senate Transportation committee this session. The Legislature convened a work group last session, which released a report in February making recommendations on how to reach emissions targets, but criticism that the work group’s report incentivizes the use of biofuels caused support for the standard to dwindle. Background here.

Reducing shotgun-only zone restrictions for deer hunting

Legislation that would have changed Minnesota’s shotgun-only zone restrictions for deer hunting during the firearm season did not pass this session. While language that would’ve lessened restrictions was included in the Environment and Natural Resources supplemental budget bills that passed in the House and Senate, it was removed from the final bill during the conference committee process. Background here.

Outdoor school for all

A program that would have given grants to learning centers with outdoor education programs for students grades 4 through 8 was included in a version of the Environment and Natural Resources supplemental budget bill that passed in the House earlier in May, but was taken out of the overarching bill during the conference committee process. Background here.

Environmental Impact Statements for farms with 10,000 animal units

A provision requiring an environmental impact statement for constructing animal feedlot facilities with a capacity of 10,000 or more animal units or expanding a facility that already has that capacity, was included in the House Environment and Natural Resources supplemental budget bill, but did not make it in the final bill after conference committee. Background here.

Ending corn plotting on state land

A provision included in a house version of the Environment and Natural Resources supplemental budget bill that would have prohibited a person from planting corn for commercial purposes on state land, was removed from the omnibus bill in the conference committee process. Background here.

‘Prove it first’ mining restrictions

Some DFL lawmakers had hoped to pass more restrictions on copper-nickel mining this year, but the proposal received only an informational hearing and did not have enough votes to pass the Legislature. Background here.

MinnPost reporter Mohamed Ibrahim contributed to this story.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct the number of pages in the mega-bill. Republican leaders said it was 2,860 (1,430 pages front and back). The bill that was finally made available online later Monday contains 1,430 pages.

It has also been edited to include words dropped in the Equal Rights Amendment section and updated to indicate that Gov. Walz has rejected calls for a special session.


This article first appeared on MinnPost and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.