Minnesota legislative session accomplishments has residents seeing green

Huge investments, tax rebates, paid leave, and abortion rights are big takeaways from this year’s legislative session that ended Monday night.

But a lot of Minnesotans are seeing green at the Capitol and not because of the record-breaking budget.

The volume of bills passed by a Democratic trifecta — controlling the House, Senate, and governor’s office — was not huge.

In all, the House and Senate passed 75 bills this session.

That’s more than double the 31 from the 2021 session that was minimized by COVID, but also fewer than the Republican-controlled House and Senate passed in 2017, and about half what the Democrats passed when they had a trifecta previously in 2013.

They also came in with a $17.5 billion surplus and delivered the state’s biggest ever budget at $71.5 billion.

Politicians will make hay about all of that for the next couple years, but what will regular people remember about this session?

It depends on who’s talking, but for the most part it wasn’t tax rebates or new taxes or gun control that stood out.

Along the Mississippi River, the Capitol dome is about a mile away, but to some folks the legislative process feels much further.

"I didn’t pay attention to it," said Gabe Ripley. "I’m not into politics and all that much. Family man. Don’t have time for it."

The House and Senate adjourned Monday night after more than four months in session.

And their work did get some attention.

"Quite frankly just the sheer amount of legislation that they passed," said Rebecca Nelson.

She was enthusiastic about legislation she said sets Minnesota apart from some of its neighbors.

"Women’s rights and LGBTQ rights have been under attack in many places," she said. "We’ve become an oasis in the Midwest."

But our unscientific survey uncovered what most Minnesotans will remember this year at the Capitol, if they remember anything at all.

"I did follow that it’s about weed and marijuana," said Molly Hanten.

"I sort of know about the recent, or know a little bit about the end result relating to recreational marijuana usage," said Ben Ihlenfeldt.

Recreational marijuana becomes legal on August 1.

"Woohoo," said Hanten. "That’s a good thing, I think."

The state probably won’t be able to license retailers for more than 12 months, but people will be able to have two pounds of cannabis in their homes, two ounces anywhere else.

Legislators are now scheduled to come back in February, but there could be a special session relating to health care mergers later this year.