Capitol Update for March 15, 2013




Liquor Issues Update, March 15, 2013


Omnibus Liquor Bills – The House and Senate Commerce Committees put together their omnibus liquor bills this past week. The bills are very similar, each bill containing a few additional provisions which are not in the other bill.

HF 746 (Atkins) & SF 541 (Metzen) Omnibus Liquor Bills Identical Provisions:

· _Tap Rooms – Clarifies that cities with municipal liquor operations may issue a tap room license to a brewer.


· _Microdistillery Samples – allows a microdistillery to provide samples of products not to exceed 15 milliliters per person


· _Small Brewers – Allows small brewers who brew less than 20,000 barrels annually to sell not more than 500 barrels off-sale annually in growlers. The previous production cap was 3,500 barrels. Also lowers the self-distribution cap from 25,000 to 20,000 barrels brewed annually.


· _Malt Liquor Educator License – creates a malt liquor educator license modeled after the wine educator license that was created in 2012.


· _Malt Liquor Tastings – allows a charitable, religious or other nonprofit organization to conduct malt liquor tastings in the same manner that current law allows wine tastings.


· _Twin Cities in Motion – technical change in current law which allows a temporary on-sale liquor license for the Twin Cities Marathon, Inc. The name of the organization has changed to Twin Cities in Motion.



  • · _Valley Fair – allows the city of Shakopee to issue an on-sale liquor license to Valley Fair.


· _Lowertown Regional Ballpark – allows the city of St. Paul to issue an on-sale liquor license to the St. Paul Saints Baseball Club.


House bill only –

· _Wheeler Field – allows the city of Duluth to issue an on-sale 3.2 malt liquor license to Wheeler Field, a softball and athletic events facility.


Senate bill only –

· _Winnebago Beer Festival – extends the sunset by one year on the special provisions for the Winnebago Beer Festival to December 31, 2013.


· _Sake Brewpup – Clarifies that a licensed brewpub producing sake as of the effective date of the bill and licensed by the city of Minneapolis, may sell growlers off-sale. Requires Minneapolis City Council approval.


What is NOT in the bill?

· _Sunday Sales of alcohol


· _Allowing microdistilleries to sell bottles off-sale or to sell products on-sale in a “tap room”


· _Primary Source


· _Wine in Grocery


· _Shipping beer directly to consumers from out-of-state breweries


· _Expanded sales of alcohol at University of Minnesota venues



Minimum Wage – The minimum wage increase (HF 92, Winkler) passed out of the House Commerce Committee on a party line vote. An amendment was offered that lowered the proposed wage increase from $10.55 to $9.95 per hour by 2015 with an annual increase indexed according to inflation. The Senate Jobs Committee passed two minimum wage bills (SF 641, Sparks and SF 3, Eaton). SF 641 would increase the minimum wage to federal conformity, $7.25 per hour, with no indexing to inflation rates. SF 3 increases the minimum wage to $7.75 per hour, does not include a link to inflation and acknowledges a youth wage. These bills have



General Capitol Update Report

First Policy Committee Deadline – The first policy committee deadline is midnight on Friday, March 15. All policy related bills must have been passed by the relevant policy committees is either the House or the Senate by this deadline. As a result, the committee schedules


Governor’s Supplemental Budget – The Governor’s Supplemental Budget recommendations were released on Thursday and included several revisions relating to his previous tax recommendations. In general, the Governor has withdrawn his recommendation to expand the sales tax base to include business to business services and some consumer services. He also withdrew the proposal to extend the sales tax to clothing. Additionally, he dropped his proposed property tax refund to all homeowners and withdrew the proposed corporate tax rate reduction. The Governor maintained his proposal to raise the income tax on the top 2% of earners and to raise taxes on cigarettes. The Governor’s supplemental budget recommendation also contains debt service for a $750 million bonding bill. The Governor will release a list of bonding priorities in the next two or three weeks.


Health Care Exchange – The House/Senate Conference Committee finished its work to resolve the differences between the two versions of the bill to create a Minnesota Health Care Exchange late on Wednesday night. The House debated final passage of the bill into the morning on Thursday night (Friday morning). The Senate will consider the bill on Monday and after passage it will be delivered to the Governor’s office. Governor Dayton has said he will “enthusiastically” sign the bill into law.


Same-Sex Marriage Bills – The House Civil Law committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee both considered bills to allow same-sex marriage in Minnesota. The bills were passed by both committees along straight party lines, Democrats supporting and Republicans opposing. The bills were passed to the House and Senate Floors. There was a small dust-up on the Senate Floor on a procedural motion to refuse to adopt the committee report and to adopt the committee report. These motions fell along mostly party lines with one Republican joining the majority of Democrats and three Democrats joining the majority of Republicans. This is a likely indication of how the final passage vote will go on this bill in the Senate.


“Dream Act” – The Senate Higher Education Committee took the first step in moving forward the controversial bill known as the “Dream Act” and also called the “Prosperity Act”. The bill would make undocumented students eligible for state financial aid, in-state tuition, and private scholarships. Students would be required to attend a Minnesota high school for at least three years and graduate, file an affidavit with their college or university stating that they will apply to change their immigration status as soon as they are eligible. The bill has yet to be heard in the House committee.


Procedural Motions – The results of the 2012 November general elections provided a DFL majority in the Minnesota House and Senate, with DFL Governor Dayton. As a result, the Republican minorities are exercising their right to try and slow down the flow of business in the House and Senate. They are doing this by offering a variety of procedural motions and objections to standard committee reports, often for about an hour or so each session day. This could make long sessions days even longer.


Next Week – The second policy committee deadline is Friday, March 22 at 11:59 p.m.. Following this date, bills that only address policy issues with no fiscal implications are considered “dead” for the session if they have not passed through the committee process. After this point, work on assembling the budget bills will begin in earnest.