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What bills did and didn't pass the Minnesota Legislature this year?

Minnesota’s 2024 legislative session ends in turmoil
Minnesota’s 2024 legislative session ends in turmoil 01:55

ST. PAUL, Minn. — The Minnesota Legislature finished its work on Sunday with a chaotic close as lawmakers raced against the clock. 

Democrats in the final hours cobbled together a 1,400-page bill to get some of their priorities over the finish line in time, sparking Republican outrage. Still, some policies just didn't make the cut.

Here are some of the bills that did and didn't pass the 2024 session of the Minnesota Legislature. This list is not exhaustive.


Rideshare minimum wage; Uber and Lyft will stay in Minnesota

Late Saturday night, DFL leaders announced they reached a deal that will pay rideshare drivers a minimum wage but keep Uber and Lyft from leaving the state after they threatened to do so following a Minneapolis ordinance they say went too far. 

Lawmakers worked on a statewide rate that will supersede what the City Council approved at $1.28 per mile and $0.31 per minute, which House Majority Leader Jamie Long, DFL-Minneapolis, said equates to a 20% pay increase for drivers. It includes other protections and benefits for drivers, too. 

This was considered a must-do item.

Tougher penalties for straw gun buyers

Buying a gun for someone who is not legally allowed to have one — known as a straw purchase — will become a felony punishable by up to two years in prison and a $10,000 fine. It was previously a gross misdemeanor under state law. If the weapon purchased illegally by a straw buyer was used in a violent crime, those penalties would increase even more.

That provision had bipartisan support, but also included in the proposal was a ban on binary trigger devices that double the rate of fire, which drew GOP criticism. Federal prosecutors say such a device was used on the weapons in the Burnsville shooting that killed three first responders in February.

The shooter's girlfriend is charged with making an illegal straw purchase. This bill ended up in the large omnibus bill with 1,400 pages worth of policies within.

One-time aid to shore up emergency medical services

Emergency medical services in rural Minnesota have been sounding the alarm that they face a crisis and need state support to fix budget woes as they search for long-term funding solutions. On the final day of session, lawmakers with overwhelming bipartisan support approved a $30 million package to shore up the industry, though it still falls short of the $120 million EMS providers said would meet the need. The bill also creates a new state office tasked with oversight of EMS.

Cannabis regulations updates

Minnesota regulators are planning for the launch of the legal, adult-use cannabis market next year and lawmakers authorized a pre-approval licensing process, so certain entrepreneurs can get a head start launching their businesses so they are ready in time for legal sales. This was a request of the new Office of Cannabis Management.

These pre-approved licenses are reserved for "social equity" applicants, which include veterans, farmers just starting out, residents from low-income areas and people who faced or have a family member who faced cannabis possession convictions before marijuana became legal.

These individuals given the green light for certain pre-approved licenses may also begin early cultivation of plants, so there's a supply ready to meet market demand as soon as this summer.

Ticket transparency

In a nod to Taylor Swift's hit album, HF1989 creates new rules for ticket sellers to boost transparency for consumers, including all-in pricing so they know the full cost of the ticket upfront before they checkout, including fees.

It prohibits "speculative ticketing," or resellers posting tickets for sale even though they aren't yet available. It also bans them from selling more than one copy of a ticket, and attempts to crack down on internet bots snatching large amounts of tickets when they go on sale only to resell them for much higher prices.

A separate bill that passed will ban "junk fees."

School resource officer clarification

Earlier this session, lawmakers in a bipartisan fashion clarified use-of-force standards for school resource officers, following confusion and controversy over a law approved last year that prompted some law enforcement departments to end their programs with schools.

The language at issue in the 2023 law prohibited school staff and school resource officers from using certain types of restraints and physical holds on students. The new changes approved carve out school resource officers from those recent regulations on holds and restraints of students. But they still have to follow other laws governing police conduct, including a ban on chokeholds except in narrow circumstances. School staff are still subject to the rules outlined last year.

The law requires SRO training on topics like de-escalation and responding to mental health crises and instructs the Board of Peace Officer Standards and Training to develop a model policy with stakeholders, like groups representing school boards and law enforcement.

Wig insurance

DFL Senate Majority Leader Kari Dziedzic's cancer fight prompted her to step down from her leadership post this year, but her personal health struggle inspired a policy proposal: Health insurance should cover wigs for cancer patients.

Her bill made the final cut and would require insurance coverage for anyone with a health condition that leads to hair loss, up to $1,000 per year. Previously, only patients with alopecia were covered, but not cancer patients. Buying a wig out-of-pocket can cost hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars.


Equal rights constitutional amendment

A proposed constitutional amendment that would enshrine equal rights in the state, including protections for LGTBQ Minnesotans and abortion rights, did not make it over the finish line this year. It passed the state House on the final day of session but did not get a vote in the Senate.

It was unclear if the one-seat DFL majority in the Senate had enough support in its caucus to pass it, but Sen. Erin Murphy, the Democratic leader, said it was a timing issue — the clock simply ran out.

Supporters of the ERA — which has been a push for decades, but included new language this year — want Gov. Tim Walz to call a special session so the Senate passes it and it can move to the 2026 statewide ballot for voters to weigh in. But when asked about the prospects of calling lawmakers back to St. Paul, Walz said firmly, "no special session."

Bonding bill funding local infrastructure projects

Leaders and Walz began the session proclaiming that the primary focus of the session would be to piece together a package funding local infrastructure projects with a mix of general obligation bonds and cash. But lawmakers came up short. 

Bonding needs a three-fifths majority to pass it, requiring bipartisan support. After trading offers about the scope of the plan, negotiations collapsed in the final days, fueled by partisan finger-pointing. The Minnesota House with only DFL support passed a cash-only $71 million plan in the final minutes of session, but it did not clear the Senate before the midnight deadline.

Safe storage and mandatory reporting of lost and stolen firearms

The only gun measure on its way to Walz's desk for signature is increasing the penalties on straw gun buyers. The Minnesota House also approved new safe storage rules for guns — keeping the ammunition separate from the locked firearm — and mandatory reporting of any lost or stolen guns to law enforcement within 48 hours of realizing they're missing.

But the DFL-led Senate with its razor-thin majority simply did not have the votes to pass those bills. Sen. Grant Hauschild, a Democrat from the Iron Range, said he did not support the policies and the chamber did not bring them up for a vote.

Insurance coverage for infertility treatment

The "Minnesota Building Families Act" would've required insurance coverage for infertility treatment, including unlimited embryo transfers and a limited number of egg retrievals — a key step for IVF treatment.

Families struggling with infertility showed up at the Capitol imploring lawmakers to act this year, but it didn't happen. They testified that their insurance covered little — or no — procedures that would help them start a family.

Leaders had concerns about the cost of the requirement in a non-budget writing year. The state also faces a potential "structural imbalance" with spending exceeding revenues in future years, according to the latest financial outlook.

One in seven Minnesotans is impacted by infertility, or 185,000 people, according to Resolve, the National Infertility Association. The group said 21 other states have approved similar legislation.

$15 minimum wage and universal basic income pilot

There were committee hearings on two proposals that would increase the state minimum wage to $15 per hour starting this summer and bump it up each year until it reaches $20 per hour, and a universal basic income pilot program offering low-income families $500 per month, no strings attached. The latter would mirror a similar program in the City of St. Paul. 

But neither bill will become law this year.

Medical aid in dying

A bill authorizing medical aid in dying advanced further than it had in the previous 10 years it's been discussed in the legislature, but did not get a vote in either chamber.

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