House to vote on same-sex marriage

Gov. Mark Dayton has said he would sign the bill if it gets to his desk.

Alma Pronove



The state House of Representatives will vote Thursday whether to recognize same-sex marriages in Minnesota.

The DFL-controlled Legislature has heard arguments from both sides for months, and as the vote nears, supporters and opponents are still trying to influence undecided legislators.

If passed, the Senate will vote Monday. Gov. Mark Dayton has said he would sign the bill, making Minnesota the 12th state to legalize same-sex marriages.

Rep. John Lesch, DFL-St. Paul, who chairs the House Civil Law Committee, which recommended the bill move forward in March, said the bill has enough support in the House to pass.

“You never know what’ll happen in a debate,” he said, “but I believe there is a good chance of it passing.”

The Associated Press has reported Illinois could also legalize same-sex marriages soon. The Illinois state Senate voted to pass a bill in February, and supporters believe they can get it through the House.

The Minnesota bill to repeal the state’s 1997 statute defining marriage as one man and woman would allow same-sex couples to legally get married beginning Aug. 1.

What’s left

While legislators work out whether to legalize same-sex marriage and work out a final tax bill, a few other bills could be passed in the state Legislature this session that could directly impact students and the University of Minnesota. 

Raising minimum wage



Rep. Ryan Winkler, DFL-Golden Valley, and Sen. Chris Eaton, DFL-Brooklyn Center

What the bill changes

The House of Representatives approved a plan to raise the minimum wage to $9.50 by 2015 in a 68-62 vote last week, and the Senate’s version of the bill, which raises minimum wage to $7.75 by 2015, passed on Wednesday in a 39-28 vote. The House version of the bill also calls for minimum wage to be adjusted for inflation each year, while the Senate bill does not.

Where the bill goes next

A joint conference committee will iron out the differences between the two versions before a final bill heads to the governor.

Where the governor stands

Dayton is strongly supportive of a minimum wage hike but said he prefers the House bill.




Sen. Sandy Pappas, DFL-St. Paul

What the bill changes

The bill would allow undocumented Minnesota students to pay in-state tuition and receive private and public financial aid. To be eligible for in-state tuition and aid, students would have to graduate from a Minnesota high school after attending for at least three years and sign an affidavit agreeing to apply for citizenship as soon as they are eligible.

Where the bill goes next

Pappas will introduce the DREAM Act as an amendment to a joint higher education committee’s final bill. The act didn’t pass in the House of Representatives. University of Minnesota officials have indicated that if the measure passes, they would take steps to adopt a policy.

Where the governor stands

Strongly supportive.

Greater Minnesota Internship Program



Sen. Kent Eken, DFL-Twin Valley

What the bill changes

The bill is intended to create more internship opportunities for students outside the metro area by giving businesses tax breaks if they offer student internships. Students must receive class credit for their internships that are related to their course of study. Businesses offering internships would receive a tax credit for 40 percent of a student’s salary.

Where the bill goes next

Eken’s bill has been included in the Senate Tax Committee’s omnibus bill and will be voted on by the full Senate in coming weeks.

Where the governor stands

It’s unclear where the governor stands on the issue.