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State lawmakers go back to work in new environment

When the Minnesota Legislature returns to St. Paul later this week, things won’t be quite the same for area lawmakers now that the DFL has taken control of the House of Representatives, a new governor will take over and Republicans hold a majority in the Senate by one vote.
Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen, R-Glencoe, and Sen. Scott Newman, R-Hutchinson, believe they can still effectively represent their constituents though they may have to work a little harder to forge compromises on key policy and spending decisions. Gruenhagen and Newman will be back to work Tuesday, Jan. 8, when the legislative session opens. New lawmakers and constitutional officers like Gov. Tim Walz will be sworn into office.
The session is primarily aimed at establishing a biennial budget for the state. Most of the significant work on budget and bills will begin later in the month, Newman said.
Minnesota’s current two-year operating budget is about $39.6 billion. The state’s budget is about $71.3 billion when all other funds are added. Gruenhagen and Newman believe the state’s budget has been growing too fast.

(For the complete story, see the Jan. 2 print edition of The Chronicle.)