Capitol Watch, April 6, 2010

04/06/2010 / Government Relations Group



Editor’s Corner
By Julie L. Perrus

After a glorious weekend and the return of outdoor baseball to Minnesota, it is pretty clear that spring is upon us.  The legislature returns to work today, facing some significant budget decisions.  After negotiating agreement with the governor’s office on state budget cuts to the justice system, higher education, agriculture and veterans affairs, economic development, and the environment, the legislature now faces the challenge of reaching agreement on two of the most sensitive areas of the budget – K-12 financing and health and human services.

Legislature and Governor Hasten Enactment of Jobs Bill
By William C. Griffith

As job losses continue to mount in the state’s construction industry, legislative leaders and the Governor Tim Pawlenty moved swiftly to enact a comprehensive jobs bill last week, culminating with a signing ceremony in the governor’s office last Thursday.  At the urging of a coalition of construction workers, contractors, architects, engineers and others in the construction industry, state legislative leaders formed a jobs task force which resulted in early enactment of a range of tax incentives for new construction, building renovation and investment in job creating businesses. Continue

The “Angel Investor Tax Credit” Is Law
By Michael W. Schley 

Governor Pawlenty signed into law the “Small Business Investment Tax Credit” (the “Angel Credit”).  Investors in qualifying small businesses are eligible for a tax credit equal to twenty five percent (25%) of their investment subject, of course, to various limitations.  The law also allows taxpayers to earn this credit by making indirect investments in eligible businesses—they can invest in a qualifying fund which makes investments such businesses.

Signed by the Governor
By Julie L. Perrus

Joint Powers Organizations Can Now Include Tribes
The Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe discovered that after paying $48,000 in dues to the Northern Lights Express Coalition, it could not participate as a voting member.  In response, Rep. Bill Hilty and Sen. Ann Rest authored legislation to give the tribe the authority to participate fully in the organization.  The Northern Lights Express Coalition is a joint powers organization established to advocate for an express rail line from the Twin Cities to Duluth.  The old law prohibited federally recognized Indian tribes from collaborating with other entities through joint powers agreements on issues such as education, transportation and emergency services.  In addition to extending the right to tribes, the recent legislation, which was signed by the governor and is effective on August 1, also allows the Minnesota Historical Society the authority to participate in joint powers organizations. 

“Live Checks” Banned
Many Minnesotans have already received what appeared to be a rebate check for a product they had already purchased in the mail.  Often, these are “live checks” – cashing the check obligates the individual to the purchase of goods or services that they may not want or even know about.  Third parties obtain individual credit card numbers without the knowledge of the consumer and use the “live check” method as a way to get consumers to cash the check.  The third party company then charges the consumers credit card – consumers may not realize what has happened until they receive their monthly statement.  There are disclosures regarding the obligation to purchase a product on these “live checks,” but the disclosures are only found in the fine print.  A new law that will take effect on August 1 bans the use of “live checks” as a deceptive practice.   

Contact our Government Relations Attorneys:

Peter J. Coyle
Email 952-896-3214

Peder A. Larson
Email 952-896-3257

Marnie S. Moore
Email 952-896-3377

Julie L. Perrus
Email 952-896-3308

Gerald L. Seck
Email 952-896-3205

This alert is provided as a service to our clients and firm associates. While the information provided in this publication is believed to be accurate, it is general in nature and should not be construed as legal advice.