For more information contact: House GOP Communications 651-296-5522
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
I’m hopeful you had a very Merry Christmas with your families and loved ones and are enjoying the remaining few days of 2015, too. I was so fortunate to spend a few days with my Mom and sisters in Arizona this season followed by an annual Christmas celebration in Wisconsin with our kids and my husband’s family. As is the case for so many of us, my family and I have many things for which to be thankful and this time of year presents the perfect opportunity to reflect on our countless blessings!
REAL ID Update
As you are aware, a key issue top-of-mind for Minnesotans at the moment is our state’s non-compliance with REAL ID. Recently, the Department of Homeland Security informed Governor Dayton that our state would not receive a time extension in order to become compliant. Although the situation sounds dire, I’d like to assure you that there’s no need to worry. DHS must give Minnesota a 120-day notice prior to refusing to accept our current state-issued IDs for commercial air travel. Therefore – at the very earliest – it will be well into April before our state would be required to have complied with REAL ID.
In anticipation of our requirement to comply within 120 days of notification, the Data Practices Commission, a bipartisan group of legislators from both the House and Senate, is continuing their discussion of REAL ID. Please know that I am in full support of ensuring compliance by a yet-to-be-determined date certain from the federal government but agree with the previous legislature which rejected REAL ID compliance at the time in order to ensure adequate privacy protections were in place for Minnesotans.
Based on what I have heard, it appears as though we are moving toward an ID system in which a person may “opt out” of REAL ID if they have no plans to fly or to enter a federal building. This would create a two-tiered system allowing those who do not want REAL ID to choose that option. I am aware that this is a very important issue to my constituents! I’ve appreciated receiving your feedback and welcome your continued concerns or ideas regarding REAL ID…or on any other issue of significance to you, for that matter!
Property Tax Relief
Another issue I’ve continued to hear about – including a flurry of emails just this week – is property tax relief. Unfortunately, due to Governor Dayton and the Democrat-controlled Senate having “doubled-down” last session insisting upon an unnecessary gas tax, our tax relief bill was put on hold until 2016. A large component of the tax bill passed by the House last session specifically addressed phasing out the statewide general tax levy.
As many of you are aware, this tax affects small businesses and cabin-owners throughout the state. Phasing out this harmful tax would ease the property tax burden on business owners and those who own a seasonal property in addition to their primary residence. In 2015, both Republicans and Democrats presented bills to reform the statewide general property tax levy. I look forward to actively supporting our tax bill during the upcoming legislative session which convenes on March 8th.
The CARE Act
Last week, several of my Republican colleagues in the House presented the CARE Act, an innovative package of legislative proposals aimed at improving care for aging Minnesotans. The CARE (Caring for the Aging, Retiring and Elderly) Act would build upon the funding and reform for elderly care passed by the legislature and signed into law earlier this year. Given the dramatic shifts we’re experiencing – not to mention those on the horizon – it’s essential the legislature take steps NOW to ensure we meet the needs of our state’s aging population.
One of the BEST parts of this proposal is the repeal of a tax on Social Security income! Did you know that Minnesota is one of just six states in the country that currently tax Social Security benefits? Our aging population deserves to keep more of their income ensuring individuals can provide for themselves later in life. If you have any additional suggestions as to how the legislature could provide improved care for Minnesota’s aging population, please do not hesitate to contact my office; I’d love to hear from you!
Happy New Year!
I don’t know about you, but I cannot believe how fast 2015 flew by! I love this time of year…it’s not only an opportunity to look back at everything that transpired in our lives, but it’s a great time to look forward with optimism to all that may lie ahead, as well!
Lastly (for this year, at least) PLEASE feel free to contact me at any time – including over the holiday weekend – if you’d like. You may reach me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling my Legislative Assistant, Emily Hanson, at 651.296.4315.
I THANK YOU, once again, for the honor of serving you in the Minnesota House of Representatives; it is a pleasure to do so!
Wishing each of you a healthy, safe and very Happy New Year!