The Minnesota Legislature returns to work this week with a decidely one-sided alignment, as the DFL recaptured both houses from Republicans in the 2012 election. Despite pressure from interest groups to tackle long-desired DFL issues, party leaders say they will focus first on Minnesota's blooming budget deficit.
Gov. Dayton will release his budget on Jan. 22, and the Legislature must agree to a budget by May 20.
DFL members are not unaware of their newfound power, though. After the state rejected a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage last year, DFLers are looking to introduce a bill that would legalize it. Sen. Scott Dibble is reported to lead the charge, though he plans to wait until all "kitchen-table" issues are resolved.
Dayton and DFL leaders also look to set up a state health care exchange in accordance with President Obama's health care law. After facing resistance from the GOP-held majorities in the last Legislature, Dayton is expected to find more friendly partners this year.