- Associated Press - Thursday, May 12, 2016

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Minnesota lawmakers tried to tie up loose ends Thursday by taking up bills that deal with voting, driver’s licenses and liquor sales as the Legislature’s focus shifts to nailing down budget-surplus spending plans.

The Legislature adjourns May 23, and lawmakers must still manage wildly different proposals for transportation funding, tax relief and other spending measures. Here’s a look at some of the remaining bills lawmakers are aiming to get passed before time runs out:

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REAL ID

Facing the prospect of disrupted travel for Minnesota residents, the Senate approved a bill on a 48-16 vote that would start issuing new federally approved driver’s licenses in 2018.

Earlier this year, the Legislature lifted a ban on complying with the federal Real ID Act, then spent weeks debating how to move forward. The Department of Homeland Security will start requiring new IDs for domestic flights in 2018, though an extension could push the deadline until 2020.

The Senate’s approach will clash with the House, where top lawmakers are calling to put the new system in place by this fall. Once the House passes its own bill, the two chambers will sort out their differences in a conference committee.

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PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY

Complaints about Minnesota’s messy presidential caucus were at an all-time high when session began, with voters and party officials alike frustrated by the long lines at polling sites across the state March 1.

With a 49-15 vote in the Senate on Thursday, the Legislature took the first step toward moving to a presidential primary. The House was expected to take up a similar measure Friday. Gov. Mark Dayton has indicated he’ll sign it.

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FANTASY SPORTS

Legislation to clarify the legality of daily fantasy sports websites hit a snag and may wait until next year.

The bill was backed by sites like FanDuel and DraftKings as attorneys general in other states have declared the daily games a form of illegal gambling. Several Minnesota senators on the Tax Committee drew the same conclusion and pushed to hold off.

Sen. Julianne Ortman, R-Chanhassen, argued the state was better off putting some ground rules in place, like an age restriction and ban on company employees playing.

“If we do nothing, it will just continue in an unregulated way. It’s not going to stop anybody,” she said.

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SUNDAY LIQUOR SALES

If it’s a year that ends with a number, lawmakers will try to lift the state’s ban on Sunday liquor sales. And they will fail.

The perennial effort cropped up Thursday in the House through an amendment to a minor liquor license bill. It was rejected on a 70-56 vote.

Minnesota is one of just 12 states that bans liquor stores from opening on Sundays.

“I think it’s time that we step forward and allow municipalities to make that decision,” said Rep. Jenifer Loon, an Eden Prairie Republican who put the amendment forward. “The consumers are asking for this. Liquor stores are asking for this.”

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