For more information contact: House GOP Communications 651-296-5522
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Here is an update from the Capitol.
In this Issue:
Weaver Lake Elementary School Honored
Congratulations to the students, parents, teachers and support staff at Weaver Lake Elementary for earning the 2017 National Award of Excellence from the organization Magnet Schools of America! Schools are recognized for their ability to raise student achievement, provide integrated curriculum and instruction, create strong family and community partnerships and promote racial diversity.
Weaver Lake Principal Dennis Palm will receive the award on behalf of Weaver Lake at the Magnet Schools of America annual conference next month. Way to go Weaver Lake!
Proud of my daughter, Mara, who served as a High School Page this week!
Budget bills began moving through the Minnesota House this week. The first four budget bills that we have passed (or are set to pass today) include the Tax Omnibus Bill, the Environment Omnibus Bill, the Minnesota Road & Bridge Act, and the Education Omnibus Bill.
Below are a few highlights from each budget bill:
Tax Omnibus Bill
The $1.35 billion tax relief bill will provide meaningful, middle-class tax relief to families, seniors, hometown businesses, farmers and college graduates across the state.
Highlights in the bill include increasing the income limit thresholds for the taxation of Social Security income; addressing college affordability including credits for 529 Savings Plans and a first-in-the-nation tax credit for student loan payments; reducing the burden farmers and agriculture land owners pay for school bond referendums; modifying to child and dependent care credit to help families with childcare expenses; providing $100 million in direct property tax relief to homeowners and renters; and exempting the first $200,000 in property value from the extra tax on business to spur hiring and economic growth.
This tax bill directly helps middle-class Minnesotans, and I am pleased we’re advancing a large tax relief package this session.
Environment and Natural Resources Omnibus
This legislation balances the needs of protecting Minnesota’s environment and natural beauty, while also reining in unnecessary government regulations to help farmers, landowners, small businesses and average Minnesotans.
Key highlights in the bill include reforms to the permitting process of the DNR and MPCA to ensure agencies do not overstep the scope of their authority, an increase in funding for the Minnesota Zoo, allowing scopes to be used on muzzleloaders, and reforms that help our timber industry and protect our forests.
Minnesota Road & Bridge Act
The Transportation Omnibus bill, which I talked about in more detail last week, continues House Republicans’ dedication to improving our roads and bridges, while making long-term, sustainable investments in our transportation infrastructure without a harmful gas tax or metro area sales tax increase. The bill passed earlier today.
In all, our plan puts $6 billion into our transportation infrastructure over the next decade.
Education Omnibus Bill
Following last biennium’s historic investment in Minnesota students and schools, the Education Omnibus bill puts another $1.1 billion in new money into education over last biennium. We also look at reforms in education funding to increase transparency, and make better and smarter investments.
Additionally, for our littlest learners, there are more than $300 million in investments for proven early learning programs including scholarships and school readiness aid. There is also $40 million for enhanced school readiness aid that allows schools currently doing voluntary pre-kindergarten to either continue the program or invest in other early learning initiatives that better meet the needs of the students, parents and school.
Finally, there are a number of innovative reforms and new programs in the bill including targeted, extended time programs to help low-income kids falling behind their peers academically, repeal of the ‘last in, first out’ policy to help keep the best teachers in the classroom, and teacher licensure reform.
Brockton Interchange Hearing
Testifying before the Transportation Finance Committee this week with Dayton Mayor Tim McNeil
This week the House Transportation Finance Committee held informational hearings on a number of transportation projects that could be included in future legislation. Included in that hearing was my bill, House File 228, which will appropriate funding for the Brockton Lane Interchange.
This is an important project for which I have long advocated, as this stretch of freeway between Maple Grove and Rogers is one of the longest without an exit in the entire metro. Once funded, it will construct a full access point and auxiliary lanes on I-94 east of the existing Brockton Lane Highway 101 overpass, helping alleviate traffic and making accessing south and east Rogers, as well as the city of Dayton, much easier.
This is a key transportation project for our community, and I will keep you updated.
Reinsurance Bill Moves Forward
I talked a few weeks ago about the next step in addressing our failing individual health care market which is just a third the size and twice as sick as it was before the implementation of Obamacare. As a next step to address affordability and accessibility, the House and Senate came to an agreement on the Minnesota Premium Security Plan legislation which sets up a state-based reinsurance program in our state.
House File 5 is estimated to reduce premiums by 20 percent or more which will help families, small businesses and those struggling to afford out-of-control health care costs while ensuring that Minnesotans with the severest medical conditions continue to have access to the care and coverage they need.
The bill repassed the House on Thursday, and I am hopeful Governor Dayton will sign the bill into law.
The Rogers Lions Club is hosting a fish and shrimp fry dinner tonight from 5-8 p.m. at the Rogers Community Center, 21201 Memorial Drive in Rogers. Cost is $13 ($6 for kids 10 and under) and includes fish, shrimp, baked potato and macaroni and cheese. Cash bar is also available.
The Dayton Lions Club is hosting a free will offering pancake breakfast on Sunday from 8 a.m. to noon at Dayton Elementary School, 12000 South Diamond Lake Road. Come enjoy pancakes, French toast, sausage, coffee and orange juice.
Maple Grove Beyond the Yellow Ribbon is hosting a Steak Fry Fundraiser on Sunday, April 2 from 5:30-8:30 p.m. at the Osseo/MG American Legion, 260 4th Ave. in Osseo. For $10, diners can get steak, fish or shrimp, or a combo plate for $2.00 more. Proceeds from this event will be used to help construct the Maple Grove Veterans Memorial Park to be located within Maple Grove's new Central Park.
Thank you to everyone who participated in last week’s MinnTriv Question. The question was: What Minnesota company is responsible for making one of the Super Bowl’s most important player prizes? The answer was Jostens which makes Super Bowl rings.
Congratulations to C.J. Lyngen from Rogers for having the first correct response.
Here is this week’s question: What Minnesota city is home to a 150 foot tall otter?
Respond to this email with your answer, and you could be featured in next week’s email update!
In order to best represent our communities, I need to hear from you, so please don’t hesitate to contact my office at any time. My direct line is 651-296-7806. My email address is email@example.com and my mailing address is Room 459 State Office Building, 100 Dr. Martin Luther King Boulevard, St. Paul, MN 55155.
Have a wonderful weekend.
**Encourage your neighbors and friends to sign up for my email updates at www.house.mn/34A