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State Representative JoAnn Ward

231 State Office BuildingState Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
651-296-7807

For more information contact: DJ Danielson 651-296-8879

Posted: 2016-06-24
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Legislative Update

Legislative Update - June 24, 2016


Dear Neighbors,

The 2016 legislative session is in the rear view mirror, finishing up just over a month ago. While we were constitutionally required to adjourn by May 23, a rushed conclusion with many errors in final versions of bills meant important work went undone. For instance, the tax bill – which contained some good provisions for ordinary Minnesota families – contained a $101 million error. Gov. Dayton therefore felt he was unable to sign it into law. The bonding bill, which contained about $1 billion worth of investments in public infrastructure projects, only allowed for a bond sale itself of $1 million, and omitted several items.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Gov. Dayton has left the door open to a special session and has been meeting with legislative leaders in an attempt to work toward an agreement. Unfortunately, these talks have not led to much progress, and have produced more in the way of political sound bites and less in the way of compromise. While some “top level” negotiation is certainly necessary, I sincerely hope that if we approach a special session, we can have open, civil, and transparent dialog with legislators and members of the public to ensure legislation is fully vetted and the proper level of citizen input is available. If this type of thorough scrutiny had been afforded during the regular session – as opposed to a rushed process at the last minute to beat the clock – it’s likely we would not be in this situation.

As these discussions continue, I remain committed to doing my part to help us find meaningful compromise so we can enact these solutions, and am keeping my door open to feedback from members of the community as well.

New Laws

While work remains in some of the high profile areas I mentioned above, the 2016 Legislature did enact many proposals into law. Each of these is given an “effective date;” sometimes the day the bill is signed into law, sometimes July 1, sometimes August 1, and sometimes an arbitrary date per a provision contained within the bill.

With Fiscal Year 2017 beginning on July 1, bills containing appropriations go into effect that date, a week from today. Minnesota House Public Information Services has put together a comprehensive list of them, which I invite you to check out here.

Pollinator Park

Recently, the first phrase of the Pollinator Park at Laurel and Owens in Stillwater was completed with a flower garden and a bee lawn. A week from tomorrow, Saturday, July 9 at 9:30 a.m., an effort will be underway to do some weeding and mulching to keep everything growing as planned. I encourage you to volunteer for this project and be a “pollinator champion” to help our area bee and butterfly populations. The tasks should take about two hours. Click here for more information or to sign up to take part in this exciting initiative.

As always, I invite you to keep in touch with any questions or input you might have. It’s an honor to represent you at the Capitol.

Sincerely,

JoAnn Ward

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