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Medical Marijuana Bill Receives Voice-Vote OK


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A bill to legalize medical marijuana use and possession for seriously ill or terminally ill patients zipped through a Senate health committee on a voice vote.

The bill now goes to the Senate Judiciary Committee for consideration. Legislative leaders said an identical House bill is expected to receive its first committee hearing soon.

Legislative schedule

The Legislature is "starting to hit stride, session-wise," Assistant Senate Majority Leader Tarryl Clark, DFL-St. Cloud, declared Friday.

A children's health care bill offered by Sen. Yvonne Prettner Solon, DFL-Duluth, now faces a Senate oversight committee.

Legislators were invited to training sessions Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday presented by the Indian Affairs Council.

A bill addressing the disposal of televisions and monitors will be heard Wednesday in a Senate environment committee. Later that day, online intimidation legislation will be considered at a Senate education committee, alongside a bill allowing schools to start before Labor Day.

The Senate tax committee Thursday will consider a bill calling for tax breaks for veterans.

Moe: Freeze tuition

Assistant House Majority Leader Frank Moe introduced legislation to freeze tuition at Minnesota's public colleges and universities.

The Bemidji Democrat said double-digit tuition increases over the past five years have created a need for drastic action.

In 2005, nearly 60 percent of Minnesota students borrowed money, compared to 48 percent just three years earlier, said Moe, a teacher at Bemidji State University.

Farmers incentives

A bill that passed through a Senate agriculture committee would provide incentives for landowners to rent their land to beginning farmers.

The bill creates two nonrefundable credits against the individual income tax or corporate franchise tax. The incentive credit is equal to 10 percent of the gross rental income or, for share rent agreements, 15 percent of the cash equivalent of the gross rental income.

The credit provides a tax credit of up to $500 to beginning farmers for the cost of participating in an approved farm-management program. The bill heads to the Senate Tax Committee.

Ag bills backed

A move touted by supporters to make Minnesota a leader in sustainable and organic research and promotion received support from a key House agriculture committee when it passed four bills.

The bills provide funding and resources to the state and the University of Minnesota for research and promotion of sustainable and organic agriculture.

Deadlines set

A month and a half into 2007, the Legislature has some deadlines.

However, they are different for the House and Senate — something that may be a first.

In the House, committees have until March 23 to act on bills, but have until April 2 to clear finance bills.

All Senate finance bills need to be settled by April 2. Senators need to finish dealing with all other Senate-originated bills by April 14.

Under the House-Senate agreement, legislative leaders must set spending limits for funding bills by April 27.

This year's session centers on forming a two-year budget.

Source: InForum News (Fargo, ND)
Copyright: 2007 Forum Communications Co
Website: INFORUM
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