The sequel to the 1999 sales tax rebate is idling in the House Tax Committee.
A House bill to provide a $497 million sales tax rebate this year was discussed briefly, but the committee intends to include a rebate in a broader tax bill instead of putting it to a vote individually.
House Tax Chairman Ron Abrams, R-Minnetonka, said he wants to wait until a new budget forecast comes out next week before assembling the bill.
''Rather than act quickly, we're going to act correctly,'' Abrams said.
He said the rebate likely will be rolled into a House bill that includes income tax cuts and other relief. The House rebate bill the committee considered is forward looking and doesn't provide a retroactive payment to those left out of the 1999 rebate.
The Senate, which approved a tax rebate and agriculture relief package worth $476 million, allows those who didn't get a check in 1999 to seek one.
Gov. Jesse Ventura is seeking a $470 million rebate. He wants to deal with most permanent tax cuts next year.
For the past several years, there have been an average of 17 workplace deaths annually in Minnesota in which the business later was fined by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for safety violations.
A bill sponsored by Sen. John Marty, DFL-Roseville, would allow a victim's family to sue for damages if the employer caused injury or death by knowingly violating safety laws.
The proposal would not change the current workers' compensation program, but would allow for an additional recourse if the employer had violated safety laws.
''This does not touch any law-abiding employer,'' Marty said.
Currently, an employer is only liable if gross negligence can be proven. That means the employer must willfully have caused the death or injury.
The bill is scheduled to be heard next week in the Senate Jobs, Energy and Community Development Committee.
A House panel approved a bill that would increase potential OSHA penalties from $25,000 to $50,000, but it doesn't allow a family to sue.
No teacher should be able to step in front of a class without having a criminal background check first, the House Education Committee decided.
The panel approved a bill to enhance an existing law dealing with background checks. Before teachers are licensed, they must undergo a background study. Those convicted of sex offenses or domestic abuse are denied licenses.
But Rep. Matt Entenza, DFL-St. Paul, said there is a loophole for unlicensed teachers, who are assuming greater responsibility as school districts struggle to fill openings.
Eventually they must be licensed, but they can teach while that process takes place.
School officials in Savage were planning a check on 31-year-old Kristin Osterbauer when the unlicensed Spanish teacher was accused of having sex with a 13-year-old boy in her class. When a check was conducted, it turned up several alcohol-related convictions.
The bill gets its next hearing before the House Crime Prevention Committee.
A pair of senators say a package of feedlot rule changes proposed by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency is onerous and will drive farmers out of business, so they are proposing changes of their own.
''It's evident that the MPCA did not listen to (farmers') concerns,'' said Senate Agriculture and Rural Development Chairman Dallas Sams, DFL-Staples.
The MPCA last week wrapped up a series of meetings around the state to explain the new rules and take comments on the proposed revisions to the regulations, mainly dealing with manure storage and handling, run-off, construction standards and permits.
Farmers have said they are worried and confused by the proposed rules.
The House Environment and Natural Resources Committee unanimously endorsed a bill that would delay the new regulations for a year. The rules are scheduled to take effect July 1.
An administrative law judge will decide later this year whether the rules are proper, but lawmakers have said they want to leave some room to make changes.
Sams and Sen. Steve Dille, R-Dassel, want some of the rules to change this year, but not all of them. The bill they are sponsoring gives more leeway to farmers. It will be up for a vote Thursday in Sams' committee.
Orange pylons alone shouldn't be enough to require lower speed limits on Minnesota's roads, according to a bill backed by the Senate Transportation Committee.
Road workers would need to be present for the lower speed limits to be in effect. And the Minnesota Department of Transportation or local authority would have the right to determine speed limits. In the past, work zones had set speed limits.
The provision was part of a larger transportation bill that was sent to the floor.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
''They're going to have to sit out there on the open floor and flip the switch so that everybody knows how they voted.''
--Gov. Jesse Ventura said in explaining why he rejected a compromise to keep the Senate from rejecting Steve Minn as commissioner of Public Service and Commerce. Minn's confirmation comes up for a vote Thursday.
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