Legislative Update as of Feb 24

A February 24 weekend update, compliments of the Public Affairs Office, House Republican Caucus:

  • Sunday Liquor Sales – The Minnesota House passed legislation last Monday (2/20) that would legalize the sale of liquor, beer, and wine on Sundays.  This is the first time in state history that standalone legislation on this issue has been voted on or approved.  The bill passed on a bipartisan 85-45 vote.  It now heads to the Senate for consideration

  • Unlawful Demonstration Penalty –The House Public Safety and Security Policy and Finance Committee heard two bills last Wednesday (2/22) to increase the penalty to a gross misdemeanor for those who intentionally obstruct a highway, an airport, or block access to a transit system.  These bills do not limit a person’s first amendment rights.  However, they do provide for a stiffer punishment for people who decide to block a freeway, the airport, or light rail train.  Beyond being disrespectful of people’s time, such blockages are a matter of public safety.

  • The House passed a bill with a bipartisan vote of 72-58 to make Minnesota compliant with the national REAL ID requirements.  Without action on REAL ID this session, Minnesota drivers’ licenses will no longer be acceptable for boarding planes as soon as January 2018.  REAL ID is a federal law passed in 2005 to make it more difficult for potential terrorists to obtain fake identification cards.  It sets standards that states must meet for their drivers’ licenses.  Some federal facilities, including military bases, have already begun to require those without compliant licenses to provide passports or other documentation in order to be admitted.

  • Last Thursday (2/23), the House passed a bipartisan bill aimed at supporting Israel against the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement and other organizations who boycott Israel.  The legislation bars the State of Minnesota from engaging in business contracts with companies who discriminate against Israel.  Similar bipartisan bills are under consideration in the US House and Senate.  Fifteen other states have passed similar legislation.