New year, new Legislature: Minn. session begins

Published On: Jan 08 2013 01:25:09 PM CST
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -

Minnesota legislators have opened a 2013 session that must wrap up by May with a budget deficit wiped out.

The House and Senate gaveled to order at midday Tuesday for a day devoted to inaugurating lawmakers and getting organized. The heavy lifting, especially coping with a $1.1 billion shortfall, will come much later.

For the first time in two decades, Democrats have full control of state government. New Democratic majorities will join Gov. Mark Dayton in setting the agenda. The session promises debates over tax increases, spending and maybe even a push to legalize same-sex marriage.

The first legislation will be introduced Thursday, and the majority party's first bills will signal its main priorities.