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Other bills will wait

SIDEWAYS THUMB: The Minnesota Legislature is racing to the wire, as usual, to get its most important work done, passing a balanced state budget for the next couple of years. Even with DFLers in charge of both houses and the governor’s office, it is going to be a close finish. At least there’s little chance of a deadlock and a special session.

It also appears some other significant legislative proposals will languish for next year, if ever. Earlier in the season, legislative leaders said they would not take up the question of legalizing gay marriage until after the budget is done. That might not be until five minutes before the session ends, so there’s an issue that will be coming up next year.

Proposed gun control legislation is also done for this year. House leadership has decided there aren’t enough votes to get anything passed, so the great momentum built up after the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting has died away. If it doesn’t pass this year, we don’t know what it will take to revive it.

Good jobs news

THUMBS UP: The April jobs report had good news for the American economy. With 165,000 new jobs added statewide, the unemployment rate fell to 7.5 percent, the lowest rate in four years.

For a long time now, signs of economic recovery have been found in all kinds of reports – manufacturing orders, housing starts and so on – but the one that matters most to people is jobs. Good paying jobs are hard to come by, and many of the new jobs in the past month were in lower paying service jobs.

Still, the report is a sign that the recovery is continuing, even if it is recovering slowly.

Missed us!

THUMBS UP: After looking at photo galleries from Owatonna, following their 13-inch snowfall this week, we can heave a sigh of relief and say, “You missed us!” The southeast corner of the state got hammered pretty good, along with the northern territories, where you might expect more early May snowfall.

This has been an odd year, and a late spring. Here’s hoping winter stays away until next November or so.