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Minnesota legislators have several items left on their to-do list and little more than a month remaining to check them off.

They're still debating measures to legalize sports betting and fine-tune the state's recreational marijuana law. Legislators also want to make some modest budget adjustments, pass a bill that funds construction projects across the state and find a solution that prevents Uber and Lyft from leaving Minneapolis.

Here's a look at some of the most prominent issues still being considered as the Legislature heads toward its May 20 adjournment.


The Legislature's main task in even-numbered years is to pass what's known as a bonding bill, which is a borrowing package that funds public infrastructure projects. Gov. Tim Walz has proposed a $989 million bonding bill that focuses mostly on preserving existing infrastructure and funding water and transportation projects.

Legislators haven't presented their bonding proposals yet. Bonding bills require a three-fifths majority in both the House and Senate to pass, so Democrats who control both chambers will have to work with Republicans to get their votes.

"The one thing that's the major workload this year is this jigsaw puzzle of the bonding bill, which always comes together really late and always has its associated drama," House Speaker Melissa Hortman, DFL-Brooklyn Park, said last week. "The twists and turns of the drama of the bonding bill usually never start until late April."


Legislative leaders are continuing to work toward a solution that could prevent Uber from leaving the seven-county metro and Lyft from leaving Minneapolis. The rideshare giants vowed to leave on May 1 after the City Council voted to enact a pay raise for drivers.

DFL leaders and Walz's administration are meeting with drivers' groups and the rideshare apps to find a compromise on legislation that would boost minimum pay at a rate acceptable to the companies.

"We're making really good progress. We've been working with Uber and Lyft through the bill language, been working with the city of Minneapolis as well in trying to find a path forward to agreement," DFL House Majority Leader Jamie Long said last week. "I'm confident we can by the end of session."

Sports betting

The fate of bills to legalize sports betting on mobile devices is uncertain at this point. They've advanced in both legislative chambers but haven't yet gotten a floor vote.

DFL legislators have sponsored bills to give the state's tribal nations exclusive rights to partner with a gambling platform and allow Minnesotans to bet on their phones. But Republican leaders have stressed that any betting bill must also support the state's horse racing tracks, who say the gambling expansion could potentially put them out of business.


To speed up the launch of Minnesota's recreational marijuana market, legislators are considering a proposal to allow social equity applicants to be preapproved for cannabis business licenses as early as this summer. Social equity applicants are defined as people harmed directly or indirectly by previous criminal enforcement of marijuana laws.

Those preapproved for licenses couldn't open up shop yet, but they could do prep work such as securing commercial real estate and obtaining local zoning approval. Once the state's Office of Cannabis Management sets rules for the industry, likely early next year, social equity businesses that won license preapproval could start operating.

Other applicants would trail behind, unable to apply for a license until the rules have been set.

Legislators are also considering a broader change to how cannabis licenses will be awarded. Instead of using a points system to score applications, Minnesota would enter qualified applicants into a random lottery to decide who gets business licenses.

Regulators are worried the current points-based system could invite lawsuits and bias accusations. The lottery proposal has frustrated some Minnesotans who were preparing for a merit-based application process.


Walz and DFL legislative leaders agreed to a supplemental spending framework that would increase the state's current two-year budget by $477.5 million. That proposal leaves much of Minnesota's projected $3.7 billion surplus untouched.

State officials had urged Walz and the Legislature to be cautious with the current surplus, warning it could turn into a shortfall in the coming years if legislators didn't leave enough money on the bottom line.

The spending agreement includes $16 million for the state's ailing Emergency Medical Services (EMS) system, which Republicans argue isn't enough.

Legislators haven't yet passed supplemental spending bills.

Star Tribune staff writer Briana Bierschbach contributed to this report.