For more information contact: Catherine Thompson 651-296-5499
Neighbors and Friends,
The 2018 Legislative Session adjourned Sunday night, yielding few accomplishments and many disappointments. At the start of the legislative session, there were bipartisan agreements to act on a number of issues including elder abuse, the opioid crisis, tax conformity, sex-harassment, cell phone use while driving and more, but the majority failed to make significant, meaningful progress on any of those issues. Here is an update from the Capitol:
A highlight of the 2018 session, was passage of the bonding bill by both the House and Senate. The $1.4 billion measure includes investments in communities across the state for higher education, housing and clean water. Additional funds are included for transportation, education and veterans homes. Read my statement here. The bill has been sent to Gov. Dayton for his consideration.
Another accomplishment of the session was final passage of the Pensions bill, which had been stalled in the Minnesota House for nearly three years. It was about time that our retired state workers attained some certainty about their economic security.
Governor Vetos Tax and Budget bills
On Wednesday, Governor Dayton vetoed the Omnibus Budget and Tax bills. The finance bills included many controversial policy provisions. In spite of Gov. Dayton’s request that these divisive items be removed, the bill was sent to the governor without deleting them.
One very regrettable failure of the session affects our election security. Read Secretary of State Simon’s statement.
This legislative session began with the devastating school shooting in Florida, and it ended with another tragedy in Texas. Repeatedly, House DFLers tried to advance common-sense gun safety legislation, including criminal background checks on all gun purchases and red flag laws. These bills were never heard on the House floor and did not advance in either the House or Senate.
One thing everyone can agree on is that abuse of our seniors and the vulnerable is unacceptable. The AARP submitted recommendations to address the issue, but again, lobbyists from the senior care industry interfered and no meaningful reform was enacted. Our seniors should be protected from abuse and neglect and inaction is inexcusable.
The massive budget bill included a small amount of new money for our schools – not nearly enough to address the need. Many districts are facing funding emergencies and now will have to figure out a way to move forward to meet their needs.
In spite of inaction on so many important issues, a bright spot for me this session is the engagement of those who care deeply about our state. Visitors from all corners of Minnesota came to the Capitol to weigh in on issues that impact them and their communities. It was enjoyable, and sometimes heartbreaking, to hear their stories and know that we have the opportunity to improve their lives
As always, contact me with any questions or concerns.
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