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Significant, Controversial Bills In Trouble At Legislative Session

ST. PAUL, (WCCO) -- Minnesota lawmakers are assembling the biggest spending bills of the year. And it's the time of year when many others are falling by the wayside.

There are some pretty controversial bills that are suddenly in trouble.

Until now, state lawmakers were in "talk" phase. Now, they're in "do" phase. And for a couple of very controversial gun measures, they are saying no.

The major Public Safety Bill won't include a law to let legal gun owners to carry a gun without a permit, and carry it in any public place they choose.

And this year, the state won't expand the "Stand Your Ground" laws, those laws would re-define the circumstances in which people can shoot someone in self-defense.

It was certainly a surprise and a setback to gun rights supporters, who say they will look for other ways to pass the measures. But it's going nowhere.

We heard Wednesday about the big tax cuts House Republicans are proposing. But today we got a look at the bill, and there are several other unusual items in there.

It's called the Tax Bill, but this is where a lot of goodies live, even if they are not really "taxes."

Here's a few examples: It bans all future funding for new light rail construction projects. It says no to funding for a high speed rail between Twin Cities and Rochester. It abolishes annual automatic cigarette tax hikes, and eliminates a premium tax on cigars.

There's a tax cut for outside activities at next year's Super Bowl in Minnesota. And seemingly out of nowhere, there's a penalty on cities that spend money to host a Minnesota World's Fair in 2023.

Some lawmakers consider it "frivolous."

There is also a lot of stuff you wouldn't expect at the Capitol right now. One legislative bill is dramatically exposing a State Fair donut booth.

It's all about a little donut booth just inside the entrance of the State Fair near the Grandstand. A Bag O' Donuts is $5.

What you probably don't know: This donut booth is run by a DFL group in Ramsey County... It's a political action committee. So when you buy a bag of donuts, it's a contribution to DFL political campaigns. They go $60,000 in contributions last year alone.

One Republican lawmaker wants to see a big sign on the booth telling people that.

"Do you want to defend this type of an operation? Does the end justify the means? Is it right to deceive people making a purchase and having it become a political contribution?  I don't think it does," Rep. Randy Jessup, a Republican from Shoreview, said.

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