The Minnesota Senate has given preliminary approval to a bill that relieves cities, counties and school districts from dozens of state-imposed mandates. The bill is aimed at helping local officials save money.
One change would allow counties to cremate rather than bury deceased destitute people whose families can't be found. A mandate that counties hold separate Truth in Taxation hearings would also end.
Senate Minority Leader David Senjem, R-Rochester, objected to that change, saying truth in taxation hearings are an important feature of local government.
"Why do we actually further want to remove our citizens from government? Why do we want to tell our citizens in a certain fashion that what they think doesn't matter?" said Senjem. "That's not the kind of road that we want to go down. I think we're at a time when we need our people to, in fact, be more involved in government and pay a little bit more attention to it."
Sen. Linda Berglin, DFL-Minneapolis, the bill's sponsor, says the changes will bring considerable savings to local governments, but she said a specific estimate had not been calculated.