491 State Office BuildingState Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
For more information contact: Leah Patton 651-296-9895
End of Session Update from Rep. Anna Wills
We have completed our work at the Capitol. As I mentioned before, we had sent a complete set of budget bills to Governor Dayton earlier this session, but he chose to veto this set of bills. After further negotiation, a budget agreement was reached within an hour of our constitutional deadline on 12:00am Monday. The Governor called a Special Session at 12:01 on Monday evening, and we have been in and out of session around the clock for the last several days passing the final budget bills. The Governor has agreed to sign these bills once they are passed.
We have spent long hours on the House floor in session these last several days, but I been able to have my twins with me much of the time. Having these two with me on the floor puts things into perspective, and we get some valuable mommy-time in!
The two major highlights from our budget are the tax relief portion and transportation funding package.
Our tax bill brings $660 million in tax relief for our middle class, including a provision that I have carried for the last few years that provides a tax reduction to parents saving for their kids’ college educations using 529 plans.
The transportation portion of our bill funds a 10-year plan that will repair and build roads and bridges throughout Minnesota. This is the largest transportation funding package we have ever passed in our state without raising taxes.
In the education funding portion of the budget, we were able to pass a 2% increase per year for the school funding formula for the coming biennium. Our schools districts fought very hard for this funding level, and I am so glad that we found a way to make this work in our budget. Also included was a streamlining of our teacher licensure system that adds clarity regarding licensure requirements, and transparency in the application process.
I’ll include more detailed information in the coming weeks on specific budget provisions; we really did accomplish so much this session. I am glad that after many long hours of working with the Governor and the Senate, we were able to come to a compromise and complete the state budget for the coming biennium.
We also passed a Real ID bill, which was signed into law by Governor Dayton. This bill, now law, allows individuals wanting to use their Minnesota driver’s license to board domestic flights to choose a Real ID, while those with concerns can still choose a standard license like we have now. These licenses will available in October of 2018, at the latest. We will also receive a dispensation from the federal government so that people can continue to use their licenses to board flights through October of 2020.
Capitol Renovation Grand Re-Opening
The State Capitol will have its Grand Re-Opening Celebration this summer, on August 11th, 12th, and 13th. This event will be open to the public and be full of fun opportunities to come and see our gorgeous restored Capitol and learn about our state’s proud history. I will include more details as they become available, but mark your calendars for August!
Thanks so much to constituent Drew Wynes for taking the time to shadow me at the Capitol on Sunday, May 21st!
Remembering Ben Kopp, and Memorial Day
I’m pleased to say that my bill renaming the bridge over Hwy 52 in Coates in honor of Corporal Benjamin S. Kopp, was signed by Governor Dayton. Corporal Kopp was killed in Afghanistan while serving our country, and many are alive today because of his sacrifice, and choice to be an organ donor. It seems very fitting that this bill was signed in time for Memorial Day, a day we set aside as a nation to honor our men and women who have been killed in service to our nation. Our community will honor and remember Ben this Memorial Day, and his memory will remain with our community for generations.
KSTP’s Bill Lunn recently published a book on Ben’s life and legacy, called Heart of a Ranger. Here is a brief clip detailing the story behind the book, including an interview with Ben’s mother, Jill Stephenson, and Bill Lunn: http://twincitieslive.com/article/stories/s4488614.shtml
Keep in Touch
As always, please don't hesitate to contact me with your comments, questions, and concerns. Email me any time at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 651-296-4306
. You can also follow my updates on Facebook at www.facebook.com/repannawills
and Twitter at https://twitter.com/annacwills
. If you plan to stop by and visit me at the Capitol, my office is 491 in the State Office Building.
Have a relaxing Memorial Day Weekend.
State Representative, District 57B