This Week At The Capitol - February 17, 2012

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Senator Chris Gerlach (R-Apple Valley) and Representative Keith Downey (R-Edina) introduced an Occupation Licensing bill (SF 1629 and HF 2002) on Monday that provides every person has the right to engage in “lawful occupation free from any substantial burden” of state regulation unless there is a compelling interest. Dr. Morris Kleiner, a professor of labor policy at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs, said that the state’s current licensing laws reduce jobs and discourages entrepreneurship. Kleiner added that SF 1629 could stimulate over 15,000 new jobs in Minnesota by converting the current licensing laws to less restrictive regulations. The bill passed through the Senate Commerce and Consumer Protection Committee meeting Wednesday morning and was re-referred to the Judiciary and Public Safety Committee. 

The Senate State Government and Local Elections Committee concluded their hearing on the controversial Voter ID Constitutional Amendment on Wednesday afternoon. SF 1577 passed the Committee after an 8-6 party-line vote and was re-referred to the Senate State Government Innovation and Veterans Committee. If passed, voters will be asked if the Constitution should be amended to require all voters to have government-issued photo identification in order to vote. The photo ID requirement has long been on the Republican agenda. Last year the legislature passed a similar bill but was vetoed by Governor Dayton. SF 1577 does not need the Governor’s signature, however, it must pass the House and Senate to put the question on the November ballot.

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