For more information contact: House GOP Communications 651-296-5522
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
While the end of the legislative session generally means it’s quieter around the State Capitol, I thought I would take time to share more details about some of the major budget bills that became law this year. Omnibus bills fund our shared priorities and essential government functions over the next two years.
In this Issue:
Funding our state’s road and bridge infrastructure was a top priority for House Republicans this session, and the Transportation bill signed into law focused on roads and bridges, reducing traffic congestion and increasing safety. This law was crafted to address and fund statewide needs and a core function of state government.
The transportation package put together makes the largest investment in road and bridge infrastructure in state history without asking Minnesotans to pay more at the pump. The additional funding comes in part from dedicating transportation-related revenues the state already collects (rental car, car leasing and auto parts taxes, among others) in the General Fund.
Highlights of the bill include a more than $300 million influx of funding for roads over the next two years, along with $16 million in funding for small city road projects for communities with populations under 5,000 people. Additionally, 97 bridges will be repaired or replaced statewide with $25 million in funding for a new local bridge account.
Finally, House Republicans successfully stopped state dollars from funding ongoing operating costs for the controversial Southwest Light Rail line which was important to protect Minnesota taxpayers.
Environment and Natural Resources
An important but less talked about omnibus bill that passed this year was the Environment and Natural Resources bill. For this legislation, we looked for balance between protecting our state’s environment and natural beauty and advocating for the interests of Minnesota citizens, farmers, landowners, and small businesses. Finding compromise between the Legislature and governor, the final bill does a number of important things including streamlining environmental review and increasing agency efficiencies.
One key change in the bill was reform to the so-called buffer strip law, which gives farmers the flexibility to have more time to meet the buffer law’s requirements through a waiver process. Another change moves the Environmental Quality Board from statewide appointments to appointments by congressional districts to ensure there is a balance between metro and Greater Minnesota voices.
For hunters, some key provisions in the bill include permitting blaze pink to be used in place of blaze orange, raising the penalties for poachers, allowing scopes on muzzleloaders, and prohibiting the DNR from further restricting the use of lead shot through July 2019.
Finally for fisherman and those looking to protect our lakes, rivers and streams, the bill allocates funding to the University of Minnesota to combat aquatic invasive species.
Limited Availability for Driver and Vehicle Services
Last week, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Driver and Vehicle Services division announced that they will have limited availability July 17 through July 24 to upgrade their computer system. During those dates, online services will be unavailable, so if you’re planning to renew your tabs online in July, I would recommend doing so as soon as possible.
Additionally, offices will also have limited availability during these dates for everything from plate replacements to driver’s license renewals with some locations closing all together. You can call ahead to find out if your location will be open and available on those dates, or try to get in before July 17.
You can learn more in a recent Star Tribune story here.
Looking for a Job?
If you’re currently looking for a new job, I wanted to let people know that state government resources are available. Courses, workshops, career fairs, professional development opportunities, and programs aimed at veterans are happening across the state, and you can learn more on the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development’s website and see upcoming events here.
Capitol Grand Opening
After four years and more than $300 million in restorations, the Minnesota State Capitol is now open to the public.
To commemorate this special occasion and to invite Minnesotans back to the People’s House, there will be an official Grand Opening Celebration held August 11-13. The celebration will have something for everyone – fireworks, concerts, demonstrations by the artisans that worked on the restoration, behind the scenes tours, and much more. With featured events to entertain Minnesotans of all ages and from all corners of the state, the Grand Opening weekend will be educational, interactive and a lot of fun! Most of the events are free, or offered at a very low cost.
Please mark your calendars and plan to celebrate the People’s House this summer!
For detailed information on the weekend, please visit this website: https://mn.gov/admin/capitol-restoration/grand-opening/
Maple Grove Days are Here!
Today marks the start of the four day Maple Grove Days celebration. There are plenty of family-friendly activities that kick off with the Pierre Bottineau parade tonight at 6:00 p.m. I’ll be in the parade and look forward to seeing many area residents tonight! For a full schedule of Maple Grove Days events, click here.
Thank you to everyone who participated in the last Peppin’s MinnTriv Question. The question was: Who was the first founding father to sign the Declaration of Independence? The answer was John Hancock.
There were no correct responses last week.
Here is this week’s question: Name Minnesota’s only National Park.
Respond to this question and you could be featured in the next e-mail 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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