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State Representative Fue Lee

223 State Office BuildingState Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
651-296-4262

For more information contact: Bennett Smith 651-296-6422

Posted: 2017-11-08
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Legislative Update

Legislative Update - November 8, 2017


VETERAN'S DAY

On Friday, we take a special opportunity to honor the Veterans who have served our country. As we thank the men and women who have served, we must recognize the challenges that many veterans face upon returning home. Whether regarding housing, employment, or health care, there are often roadblocks in the way of returning to normalcy. There are resources available for them from several different organizations:

Minnesota National Guard – Beyond the Yellow Ribbon

Minnesota Assistance Council For Veterans

Homeless Veteran Prevention and Assistance

Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs

As the weather turns colder, the Minnesota Department of Commerce reminds us that energy assistance is available for those who may struggle paying their heating bills. No veteran who has sacrificed so much should be left in the cold. For more information, visit Commerce’s website here.

Throughout the state, there are events in observance of Veterans Day. Take a look at the list from the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs here, to attend an event near you.Here are two Veterans Day events that might also interest you:

MN Veterans Day Warriors Hockey Showcase at Doug Woog Arena: The Warriors hope is to help each other and Veterans get through the rough times with the bond that is built on and off the ice through Hockey. http://www.mnwarriors.com/

Blacksmithing for Veterans: Blacksmithing can be a form of mental and physical therapy and provide a creative outlet for many people, including disabled Veterans and Veterans with PTSD. This event is open to all military personnel, past and present. Whether you have never swung a hammer before, have some experience, or have a disability that prevents you from enjoying hobbies like blacksmithing. https://mn.gov/mdva/news/events/?id=1066-313310

GOVERNOR DAYTON INVITES ALL MINNESOTANS TO APPLY FOR STATE BOARDS, COUNCILS, AND COMMITTEES

There are over 200 current openings on state boards, councils, and commissions 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.

You can find his full press release here.

CITY OF MINNEAPOLIS NEWS: FRANCHISE FEE INCREASE FOR CLIMATE AND ENERGY ACTION

Below is the City of Minneapolis’ news release on this proposal:

Nov. 3, 2017 (MINNEAPOLIS) The City and its partners are making progress toward the City’s energy and climate change goals, but to continue moving forward at the accelerated pace needed, reliable, ongoing funding sources are required. Raising the franchise fee by half a percentage point – about 59 cents monthly for the average household – would provide one of those sources.

What is a franchise fee?

The City of Minneapolis collects a utility franchise fee from Xcel Energy and CenterPoint Energy in return for their agreement to operate in the city. These fees are passed on to customers as a line item on their monthly energy bills. Fees are set by ordinance as a percentage of charges: currently 4.5 percent for residential customers, 5 percent for commercial customers, and 3 percent for industrial customers. The amount paid on a monthly bill correlates with energy use, which can vary by season.

Why is the city proposing to raise the fee by half a percentage point?
The money would help residents and businesses participate in and make the best use of the utilities’ energy conservation programs and City programs. It would help the City reach its goal of reducing energy use by 1.5 percent each year, annually resulting in about $8.5 million in new savings that benefit residents and businesses throughout the city. Achieving the City’s climate and energy goals would help more residents afford to own or rent their homes, help more businesses succeed and create significant environmental and economic benefits to the city.

How would the costs affect rate payers?
The average residential customer currently pays a franchise fee of about $5.30 per month (about $64 a year). If the increase passes, it would be another half percentage point, which would cost the average residential customer about 57 cents more a month (about $7 more a year) for a total franchise fee of less than $6 a month (about $71 a year).

The average commercial customer is expected to pay about $86 more per year or about $961 total for the 5.5 percent annual franchise fee. Due to significant differences in energy use between small and large businesses, a broad range of impacts (smaller and larger) than this average can be expected.

Information sessions and public hearing

Information and feedback session for residential customers
6-7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 16
Urban League, 2100 Plymouth Ave. N.

Information and feedback session for business and nonprofit customers
10 a.m.-noon Monday, Nov. 27
City Council Chamber, Room 317, City Hall, 350 S. Fifth St.

Presentation to the City Council’s Health, Environment & Community Engagement Committee about the kinds of programs the franchise fee may support (comments will not be taken at this meeting)
1:30 p.m., Monday, Nov. 27
City Council Chamber, Room 317, City Hall, 350 S. Fifth St.

Public hearing during the City Council’s Ways & Means Committee meeting
1:30 p.m., Monday, Dec. 4
City Council Chamber, Room 317, City Hall, 350 S. Fifth St.

Anyone can also send their comments to councilcomment@minneapolismn.gov.

More information about current franchise fees and the proposed increase is available here.

I encourage you to contact me with any questions, comments, concerns, or ideas on any legislative topic. Also, I am available during select hours on Monday and Friday mornings most weeks for in-district meetings, if Northside residents aren’t able to make it to the Capitol. If you would like to send me a message or set up an in-district meeting, you can reach me by phone at 651-296-4262 or by email at rep.fue.lee@house.mn. I look forward to hearing from you!

 

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