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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: Gina Vega 651-296-5526

Posted: 2018-05-11
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Legislative Update

Legislative Update- May 11, 2018


Dear Neighbors,

We have a week and a half to complete our work at the Legislature. The House and Senate majorities have both passed their mega budget bills, their tax bills, and have unveiled public infrastructure bonding bills.  With less than two weeks to go, they’re going to have to move quickly not only reconcile all of their differences in conference committees, but find compromise with Governor Dayton on these bills.

Bonding

A solid bonding bill is an investment in our state’s public infrastructure, contributing to the economic health and well-being of our state and positively impacting the lives of Minnesotans.

The need is great- there are at least three legitimate requests for every one project that is funded. Bonding is the best way to fund long-term projects at a low interest rate so Minnesotans get the best bang for their buck. Additionally, a robust bonding bill creates good paying construction jobs across the state. The bill funds shovel-ready projects that can put people to work immediately.

I was glad to see the House bonding bill include the HERO Center in Cottage Grove and a few metro parks as selected projects. However, the House bill is half the size of the Governor’s public works proposal and we can do so much better for communities across the entire state, especially with such low interest rates.

Teacher Appreciation

As we wrap up National Teacher Appreciation Week, we reflect on the educators who had a positive impact on our lives, our children’s lives and how they have shaped our state’s future. With so many schools facing budget deficits, including ISD #622 (Oakdale and Maplewood), we shouldn’t be making their jobs more difficult by threatening significant cuts.

Governor Dayton’s plan to secure funding for our schools will help prevent teacher and support staff layoffs, program cuts and larger class sizes. Let’s show teachers we value and appreciate their work by delivering the funding our kids need and deserve.

REAL ID Update

The state received news from the Department of Homeland Security on REAL ID compliance this week that Minnesotans will be able to use standard driver’s license or identification cards for domestic air travel or to access federal facilities until 2020.

Minnesota is on track to start issuing compliant licenses on October 1, 2018, even though the federal government won’t require them to be REAL ID-compliant until Oct. 1, 2020.

Asian-Pacific and Jewish American Heritage Months

Nationally and in Minnesota, May is Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month and Jewish American Heritage Month. There are some incredible exhibits, events and videos to check out at those links. One of the things that makes Minnesota such a wonderful place to live is its history of openness and inclusiveness for all those seeking a better life. I’m proud of our state and our long history of being a leader on so many issues.

Melanoma Awareness Month

May is also Melanoma Awareness Month. With longer daylight and warmer temperatures, we all want to be outside enjoying the sunshine. Please remember to use protection - sunscreen, hat, sunglasses, and long sleeves when needed.

Conference committees continue their negotiations; I hope we’ll see final compromise bills next week in plenty of time for thorough review and discussion.

Please keep in touch and don’t hesitate to contact me if I can provide any assistance.

Sincerely,

JoAnn Ward

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