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State Representative Jenifer Loon

449 State Office BuildingState Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
651-296-7449

For more information contact: House GOP Communications 651-296-5522

Posted: 2017-04-25
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Legislative Update

Legislative Update from Rep. Jenifer Loon


Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Here is an update with the latest news from the Capitol.

HIGHLIGHTS IN THIS UPDATE:

  • Conference Committees
  • Advocating for a Proven, Targeted Early Learning Approach
  • Survey Results

Conference Committees

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Working in conference committee with Senate E-12 Finance Chair Carla Nelson

Last week, the House and Senate appointed conferees and conference committees began their work on finding a compromise to budget bills. I have been appointed to the Education Finance Conference Committee, and I am working with the Senate and Governor Dayton’s administration to come to a final compromise that best serves Minnesota kids, families, schools and teachers.

The other budget conference committees meeting include Agriculture, Environment, Health and Human Services, Legacy, Public Safety, State Government Finance, Jobs, and Transportation.  A conference committee focused on tax relief for Minnesotans has also been convened.  I noted that Governor Dayton remarked last week that he would support a transportation package similar to the one House Republicans are advocating for which uses existing resources to fund transportation needs, even if a gas tax increase is not part of the legislation. Getting a transportation package signed into law is one of my top priorities this session, and I know Eden Prairie citizens want to see action on this vital issue this year. With four weeks remaining in the legislative session, the House, Senate and governor will have to work cooperatively to get the people’s work accomplished so this movement on the transportation issue is a positive sign.

Finally, I know many Minnesotans want Real ID legislation passed this session—and so do I. A conference committee of House and Senate members began to meet recently to work out a final agreement on this legislation which will ensure that a state-issued driver’s license can be used to visit a military base, enter a federal facility or board a domestic, commercial flight. I will keep you updated on this issue’s progress.

Advocating for a Proven, Targeted Early Learning Approach

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Speaking to the press on Monday about targeting investments for early learning programs

On Monday, I was joined by parents and community advocates to talk about the importance of early learning scholarships and a targeted early education approach that best serves our state’s littlest learners and their families.

The House education omnibus bill that passed last month and is now being negotiated in conference committee makes smart investments in proven and effective early learning programs for our state’s youngest learners and their families. In addition to putting more money into every classroom, we also fund $300 million in targeted dollars that furthers our nation-leading mixed delivery system of quality early learning options. New funding for the upcoming biennium proposed in the House education bill includes $24.6 million in additional scholarship funds, a $9 million increase in school readiness funds for districts and charter schools, and $40 million to allow schools in the current voluntary pre-kindergarten pilot the flexibility to operate early education programs through enhanced school readiness funding. Our targeted approach centers upon closing the achievement gap by ensuring better outcomes for our most at-risk children and giving parents options to choose a program that works best for their child and family.

Survey Results

Thank you to everyone who took my 2017 Legislative Survey. I appreciate you taking the time to share your input and ideas with me.

For the 336 Eden Prairie residents who participated in the survey, you indicated that meaningful tax relief, improvements to our transportation infrastructure and addressing health care were among your top legislative priorities. We have already acted on some of these initiatives, getting premium relief and a health insurance reform and reinsurance system enacted into law, as well as passing $1.35 billion in tax relief and a comprehensive transportation package.

As we enter into final negotiations with the Senate and Governor Dayton, I welcome your thoughts and suggestions.  Please do not hesitate to contact my office at any time to share your views, or pose a question about legislative issues under consideration at the Legislature.  I can be reached via email at rep.jenifer.loon@house.mn or you can call my office at 651-296-7449. I look forward to hearing from you!

Here are the survey results:

  1. What are your top priorities for the Minnesota state legislature and the governor to work on in the coming year? (Choose up to three)
    1. Enacting Tax Relief 36.3%
    2. Eliminating wasteful government spending 42.9%
    3. K-12 Education Reforms 15.2%
    4. Addressing MNsure’s problems and working to lower healthcare costs 44.8%
    5. Growing more good-paying jobs 23.2%
    6. Fixing roads and bridges 55.4%
    7. Increasing environmental protections 30%
    8. Other 23.4%
  2. Minnesota has a projected $1.4 billion budget surplus. How would you like to see this money used this session? (Choose up to three)
    1. Tax Relief 45.3%
    2. Road and bridge funding 57%
    3.  Transit funding (trains and buses) 29.9%
    4. Reducing healthcare costs 34.2%
    5. Increased K-12 funding 36.3%
    6. Reduce college tuition through additional state funding in higher education 22.6%
    7. Other 12.9%
  3. For Minnesotans shopping on the individual market, premiums increased by an average of 50 percent or more again this year. Many Minnesotans are struggling to afford these rising premium and deductible costs. What do you believe is the best approach to addressing rising healthcare costs and our insurance exchange, MNsure?
    1. It isn’t working, enact significant reforms 53.9%
    2. It’s working, keep as it currently is 8.4%
    3. Other 37.8%
  4. Would you support raising the metro area sales tax by another quarter or half cent to expand transit funding in the metro area?
    1. Yes 43.4%
    2. No 49.1%
    3. Undecided 7.4%
  5. What is the best way for state government to help create more good-paying jobs in Minnesota? (Select all that apply)
    1. Approve a significant capital investment (bonding) bill that would fund statewide construction projects 38%
    2. Reduce regulations that are obstacles to business 44.4%
    3. Cut taxes allowing Minnesota to better compete with neighboring states for new businesses and business expansion 56%
    4. Other 16%
  6. Do you support tax credits for charitable contributions that fund education scholarships for children from low-income families to attend private schools?
    1. Yes 37.7%
    2. No 40.1%
    3. Undecided 19.1%
  7. Tax relief is expected to be a top issue in the legislature this session. Would you like to see tax relief passed this year? If your answer is yes, please share your top three tax relief priorities.
    1. Yes, I would like to see tax relief passed in 2017 51.9%
    2. No, I do not support passing tax relief legislation this session 27.7%
    3. Undecided 12.3%
  8. Governor Dayton has proposed to increase the gas tax to fund transportation projects across the state. Would you support a gas tax increase?
    1. Yes 45.8%
    2. No 41.4%
    3. Undecided 8.6%

Thank you again to everyone who took the time to take my survey!

Sincerely,

Jenifer Loon

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