Additional state spending on a variety of programs is now in effect, with money coming from the budget surplus — the result of a bill the legislature passed shortly before it adjourned in late May. There’s $40 million to expand broadband Internet access in Greater Minnesota. Democrats say it’s inadequate. Republicans respond it will leverage federal money and private investment. There’s $35 million to help reduce economic disparities in communities of color. The group Voices for Racial Justice says, “It’s a start. It’s helpful if utilized correctly, but it’s not enough.” Governor Mark Dayton continues pushing for agreement on a bonding bill so he can call a special session, but he and Republicans are deadlocked over a number of issues, especially Southwest Light Rail in the Twin Cities. When asked whether he’s had any new communication with Republicans, Dayton said Friday, “Nah, I haven’t heard anything. Nothing communicated to me. Nope.”
Other new laws now in effect: Nearly $1.8 million will go to compensate three people who were wrongly imprisoned in Minnesota. The Keetac mine in Keewatin will operate under different regulations on how much sulfate can be in wastewater it discharges into waters that produce wild rice — but the MPCA has not set the new standard yet. And people who do eyelash extensions must now be licensed in Minnesota.