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News from the Legislature

Members of both major political parties say legislators need to pass bills to help businesses, measures such as reducing taxes and providing a state employee to help businesses obtain permits.

"Every legislator has small businesses in their district, and we regularly hear about their challenges," Rep. Keith Downey, R-Edina, said. "These bills are specific ways we can resolve state related issues and make a real difference."

Added Rep. Denise Dittrich, DFL-Champlin: "If we work together in a bipartisan fashion, we can get this work done for small business owners across our state."

Among the proposals Downey, Dittrich and others in a small business caucus support are ones that would:

- Reduce property taxes on small businesses by exempting the first $150,000 of value from the state property tax.

- Expand a business investment tax credit program.

- Allow small businesses in some instances to request advisory inspections and make changes before penalties are imposed.

- Require the Department of Employment and Economic Development to provide a permitting and regulatory ombudsman.

Carp found in state

Two Asian carp were caught in the Mississippi River near Winona last week.

The carp are invasive species that Minnesota natural resources officials fear will take over waters across the state. Gov. Mark Dayton and many legislators suggest immediate action to stop the carp's advance.

Silver and bighead carp like those caught are not native to the United States and eat food native species require.

The eight-pound silver carp caught near Winona is the farthest upstream any has been found.

"A silver carp discovery this far upstream is discouraging, but not surprising," said Tim Schlagenhaft of the Department of Natural Resources.

No significant Asian carp populations are known to be in Minnesota, although some individual fish have been caught.

Asian carp DNA has been found as far north as the northwestern Twin Cities.

State leaders are considering several measures to slow or prevent the carp's advance.

Don Davis reports for Forum Communications Co.

Don Davis
Don Davis has been the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau chief since 2001, covering state government and politics for two dozen newspapers in the state. Don also blogs at Capital Chatter on Areavoices.