We are well into the second month of the 2011 legislative session. Thus far, while the relevant policy and finance committees have been hard at work doing briefing hearings and hearings on proposed legislation, only one bill has reached the governor’s desk which addressed the budget deficit and it was vetoed. Read Julie Perrus’ column below detailing the bill and what follows in light of the governor’s veto of that bill.

Governor Dayton has finished appointing all 15 of his agency commissioners. For those who watch such things, the consensus appears to be that he chose well and did not overtly tilt toward party regulars or campaign loyalists. Read Marnie Moore’s profile below of several of the key agency commissioners appointed by the governor.

A centerpiece of the new Republican leadership is an effort to reform Minnesota’s environmental review and permitting process. A constant complaint of the business community is that Minnesota’s process is restrictive, expensive and slow. Peder Larson’s column details the legislation’s possible impacts on the cost and pace of environmental review and permitting and reconciles it with Governor Dayton’s executive order that accomplishes some but not all of the legislative goals.

Lastly, Peter Coyle details a legislative effort to reverse a recent Minnesota Supreme Court decision which essentially eliminated the authority of cities to approve zoning variances for worthwhile projects. The bill has been stalled of late due to disagreement on the language needed to correct the court ruling.