The Senate Democratic-Farmer-Labor caucus on Wednesday outlined their legislative agenda, calling for paid family leave, expanding the number of teachers of color and expanding voting rights, among other priorities.
The proposals will face strong resistance in a GOP-led Senate, which instead is calling for a 5% spending cut to state agencies and opposes any additional state spending.
Lawmakers have to close an $883 million deficit for the upcoming biennium, but with tax collections coming in higher-than-expected in recent months, the state’s fiscal picture may show improvement when the state budget agency releases an updated budget forecast later this month.
Senate Minority Leader Susan Kent, DFL-Woodbury, and other members of her caucus said they were committed to working with Republicans on their legislative priorities, but expressed frustration that parts of their agenda had been stymied in recent legislative sessions.
Among the priorities are expanding mail-in and absentee balloting, extending early voting periods, expanding voter pre-registration and stopping a Voter ID bill proposed by Senate Republicans. Senate Democrats also have proposals to increase the production of renewable energy in the state.
DFL Gov. Tim Walz late last month outlined a $52.4 billion budget proposal, which includes a series of tax increases, many aimed at Minnesota’s wealthiest and largest corporations.