- Associated Press - Monday, March 23, 2015
Dayton: GOP road plan size is progress but financing dubious

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Gov. Mark Dayton says he considers a $7 billion Republican plan for road construction a step forward in terms of scope, but he’s less enthusiastic about how it would be paid for.

Dayton reacted Monday to the GOP’s legislative alternative to his multi-billion dollar transportation proposal. He says the sides can now engage in a real debate about where to get money from now that they’re in the same ballpark on how big the problem is.

The governor says he can’t fully assess the Republican plan until he sees the trade-offs from shifting $300 million a year of taxes to a dedicated transportation account. Dayton says putting transportation in direct competition with other state priorities is ill-advised.

Dayton’s plan would generate new money by raising gas taxes and other fees.


Senator: Union’s reversal makes Sunday growler sales likely

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Minnesota residents may soon be able to take home their favorite craft brews in 64-ounce growlers on Sundays due to a labor union’s reversal on the issue, a top legislative backer of repealing the state’s Sunday liquor sales bans said Monday.

The Teamsters Joint Council 32 helped derail the measure near the end of the legislative session last year, citing concerns about its impact on the union’s labor contracts. But union lobbyist Ed Reynoso told a Senate Committee on Monday that, “at this point” the union won’t oppose the effort this year.

Sen. Roger Reinert said the change of heart clears the path to tweak the state’s liquor laws. House lawmakers have also included a similar provision in their own package of liquor law revisions.

“Having their blessing here today I think really is a green light for Sunday growler sales,” the Duluth Democrat said.

The change falls far short of the full-blown repeal of Minnesota’s ban on Sunday liquor sales - a Prohibition era law - which advocates have tried and failed for years to remove. But legal growler sales would be a major win for members the state’s burgeoning craft beer industry, who say a seventh day would bring in major sales.


Last blast of winter? Up to 15 inches of snow in Midwest

PRAIRIE DU CHIEN, Wis. (AP) - Spring came falling down Monday on winter-weary residents in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois and Iowa with more than a foot of new snow in some areas.

Schools in southwestern Wisconsin and southeastern Minnesota canceled classes as snowplows hit the highways and streets and the locals fired up their snow blowers or brought out their shovels for another round.

The National Weather Service measured 15 inches of snow in the Grant County, Wisconsin, community of Fennimore and 13 inches in neighboring Crawford County. Decorah, Iowa was dealing with 11½ inches of snow, while 10 inches fell in Rochester, Minnesota. A sprinkling of snow disrupted rush hour traffic in Chicago.

The accumulating snow stands in contrast to a week ago, when temperatures hit the 70s in some spots.



State senator wants to start conversation on assisted death

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - A state senator says it’s time for a conversation about physician-assisted death in Minnesota.

Sen. Chris Eaton doesn’t plan to push for a law allowing terminally ill patients to end their lives this year, though she has introduced a bill. The Brooklyn Center Democrat wants public input on the idea in time for the next legislative session.

A national nonprofit advocating for so-called “right to die” laws says bills to allow the practice have been introduced in more than 15 states. It’s currently legal in Oregon, New Mexico and three other states.

Eaton’s bill would require two doctors to sign off on a terminal patient’s state of mind before prescribing medication that would end the patient’s life. The patient would have the final say over whether to use the medication.

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