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State Representative David Bly

301 State Office BuildingState Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
651-296-0171

For more information contact: Mike Molzahn 651-296-1774

Posted: 2017-11-20
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Legislative Update

Legislative Update - November 20, 2017


Dear Neighbors, 

I hope autumn is treating you well and you’re preparing for Thanksgiving and the holiday season.

Heating Assistance and Cold Weather Rules

Minnesota has so much to offer as we begin to see the weather turn cold, but for many in our community though, colder weather can pose significant challenges. Specifically, the burden of heating bills can be too much to bear for some families, and no one deserves to be left in the cold. For those Minnesotans under certain income levels, help may be available for payment of energy bills, help with utility disconnections or fuel deliveries, and advocacy with power companies and human service providers. For more information, including eligibility and how to apply, please visit the Minnesota Department of Commerce’s website here

On October 15, the Minnesota Cold Weather Rule also went into effect which protects residential utility customers from having their heat shut off during the winter months. Certain low-income consumers aren’t required to pay more than 10 percent of their household income toward current and past heating bills, while others are eligible to arrange a Cold Weather Rule payment plan. More information is available from the Public Utilities Commission here

Open Enrollment

It’s also the time of the year when open enrollment is available for those accessing health insurance on the individual market. The open enrollment period runs until January 14, but if you want to ensure coverage on January 1, the deadline to enroll is December 20.  

Supreme Court decides Legislative lawsuit

The Minnesota Supreme Court sided with Governor Dayton yesterday, upholding his veto power in a case brought by the legislature. Here’s a great MPR story explaining how this happened and what it means for keeping the Legislature running. 

Out and About 

Last week I joined City Council member Suzie Nakasian to talk with Carleton Students organizing to support our Passenger Rail initiative. It was great to see the energy and excitement students have for this transportation issue.  

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I also attended a great meeting organized by Rep. Rick Hansen with Minnesotans and the Minnesota Department of Health & Department of Agriculture staff discussing science and neonicitinoids, water, pollinators, honey, and our environment. Public meetings are better than “stakeholder” meetings. Minnesotans can have conversations about science. And should. Here is a comment from West St. Paul constituent Doug Fromm:

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"I found it quite informative. In particular learning about the method and science behind all the testing was very interesting. As was how neonicotinoids not only kill bees, but get into the water and honey supply. I liked hearing from the state scientist and lab experts about the process and expense of testing things like bees, water, fish, and honey. All of which I think are necessary to learn about the full impact of the wide spread use of these chemicals. The questions from the packed audience including the local bee keepers were very good. A much better way to get public input vs say meetings in the dark at the capital. I would like to see more of these meetings where the public can listen in on and participate in the discussion. Thanks for hosting this event." 

Serve Minnesota and our community

I encourage you to apply for one of the 200 current openings on state boards, councils, and commissions. Those openings include with the Board of the Perpich Center for Arts Education, Board of Water and Soil Resources, Commission on Deaf, Deaf-Blind, and Hard of Hearing Minnesotans, Council on Disability, Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee, and many more.  

To see a full list of board, council, and committee openings and apply, visit the Minnesota Secretary of State’s website. To assure full consideration, applications are due by Monday, November 27, 2017.  

Want to stop junk mail?

If you’re getting too much junk mail, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has some great information for you. It’s estimated that each person spends 30 hours a year, or five minutes a day, sorting and discarding junk mail. One day’s supply of junk mail contains enough energy to heat 250,000 homes. There are lots of good reasons to opt out of the junk mail you get. 

So take a minute checking out this handy website from the PCA and opt out of junk mail to save time, energy, and resources. 

REVENUE

State general fund revenue was $35 million above the forecasted amount for October 2017. 

The latest Minnesota Management & Budget information compares actual receipts for October of 2017 to receipts projected by the February 2017 general fund forecast (and adjusted for 2017 legislative session actions) for the same period.

The net $35 million positive variance is the sum of the variances in several areas.  The chart below reflects the forecasted amount, actual revenue and the difference (dollars are in millions) for October.   

 

Forecast

Actual

Difference

Individual income tax

$780

$780

$0

Sales tax

490

487

-  3

Corporate income tax

50

70

20

Other revenues

345

362

18

Total

$1,665

$1,700

$35

 

Revenue for the first three months of FY 2018 was $66 million below the forecasted amount, after adding the October variance of positive $35 million, FY 2018 revenue is $31 million below the forecasted amount for the first four months.  MMB reported that revised revenue for FY 2017 (the year that ended June 30, 2017) was $1 million below the forecasted level. Since the last forecast revenue is $32 million below the forecasted amount (-1-66+35).

Minnesota Management & Budget has set Tuesday, December 5 as the date for release of the November 2018 budget forecast.

As always, please don’t hesitate to contact me with any issues, questions or concerns you may have. It’s an honor to be your voice as we work so hard to ensure those things we value most are a priority in our community and in Saint Paul.

Sincerely, Rep. David Bly

Minnesota House of Representatives  ·   100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Saint Paul, MN   55155   ·   Webmaster@house.mn