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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: 2016-07-19
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Legislative Update

Legislative Update - July 19, 2016


Dear Neighbors,

I hope the summer has been treating you well. It has been nearly two months since the regular legislative session adjourned, and a lot has been happening around the Capitol. Here is a little update from St. Paul.

Special Session Possible

Last Friday, negotiations between Gov. Dayton and legislative leaders regarding a possible special session restarted. It’s unfortunate we’re in this position, but as you know, the regular session adjourned in late May, but left a great deal of work unfinished for Minnesotans, including a tax bill – with some really good provisions (such as a student loan tax credit, and increases to the working family and child and dependent care credits), – a bonding bill, and a comprehensive transportation package.

All parties involved – myself included – understand the urgency of wrapping up this business, but a final conclusion is going to require give-and-take from all sides.

The tax bill passed both bodies of the Legislature during session, but was vetoed due to a $100 million error. We should easily be able to reconsider this in a special session. The bonding bill may require some more work, but I think we should be able to come to an agreement there, too.

These opportunities are too big to miss out on again, so I’m hopeful we can put election year posturing aside and get this work done. It appears any special session likely won’t happen until mid-August at the earliest. I’m more hopeful now than a few weeks ago that we can reach a compromise and get this done.

State Budget

Good news came earlier last week from Minnesota Management and Budget. Fiscal Year 2016 concluded on June 30, and revenues exceeded the amount from the February budget forecast by $230 million. While economic growth has slowed a bit, our economy is still in a solid position. Current projections of continued economic growth could mean that we will be entering the 2017 session with another sizable budget surplus.

Whatever the economic reality, we need to be fiscally judicious. The current position provides an opportunity to make key investments in the things that help out all Minnesotans, such as education, infrastructure, job creation, and transportation. I look forward to more discussions about this as we approach the New Year.

New Laws

July 1 is the start of Minnesota’s Fiscal Year. As a result, many state programs will receive continued funding or increases for vital state services. August 1st is the day many new policy provisions become law.

A summary of selected new laws that took effect July 1, 2016, can be accessed at http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/hinfo/leginfo/0716nlrelease.pdf

A complete summary of all laws passed by the 2016 Legislature is available online from the House Public Information Services Office at http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/newlaws/#/search/2016

As summer continues, please keep in touch with any input or if I can ever be of assistance. Don’t hesitate to write or call.

Sincerely,

JoAnn Ward

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