For more information contact: George Damian
One of my favorite days of the year is the first day of hockey practice; for me and my son Buck, that day was this past Sunday! It marked my 14th year coaching at Osseo Maple Grove Youth Hockey and it was as fun and rewarding as ever. Looking forward to another great season!
Rep. Smith coaching son, Buck's hockey team
Housing Regulation Changes Bring New Options
One of the most important pieces of legislation I worked on this past session was my work to help address one of the biggest problems in the Minnesota housing market -- the lack of affordable and starter homes. My bill to ease burdensome regulations placed on condo and townhouse construction has already begun to deliver results. Permits for building new condos and townhouses are up considerably. This is good news for everyone, but especially those young and in the middle class looking for the financial stability of home ownership.
A recent article about the rise in demand for Townhomes, from millennials looking for a first home to empty nesters looking to downsize, highlights the importance of not discouraging the construction of new townhomes through over and burdensome regulations. I am proud to have fought for this legislation and am glad we are already seeing results for people across Minnesota as builders are now turning their attention to building townhouses in suburbs across the state.
MNLARS Update: A New Licensing Vendor
As I have kept you up to date on, beginning January of 2018, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) is scheduled to begin issuing driver's licenses through MNLARS. The MNLARS system had been having serious problems delivering tabs, titles, and other functions during its rollout in 2017. Further complicating matters is the implementation of REAL ID that will be happening in 2018.
This week, DPS announced in order to rectify this situation and meet the need to deliver on all these core functions of government, they have contracted with a private vendor with a track record of delivering functioning licensing services across the country. DPS released a full fact sheet about the relationship here.
While it is extremely disappointing the Dayton Administration could not deliver a functioning licensing system despite years to prepare and millions of taxpayer dollars invested, this solution should help to make sure Minnesotans have a functioning licensing system and we do not encounter any further problems implementing REAL ID. Our licensing system simply has to work and I will continue to demand answers as to how MNLARS has faired so poorly and this additional outside vendor became necessary.
2017 Legislative Champion
This week I was honored by Minnesotans for Lawsuit Reform as their 2017 Legislative Champion for my work last session. I had two tort reform bills that were signed into law by Governor Dayton this past session to help consumers and job creators in Minnesota. I am proud of this work for Minnesotans and will continue to work on your behalf to make our legal system more simple, transparent, and fair.
Rep. Smith accepts his 2017 Legislative Champion award from Minnesotans for Lawsuit Reform
Visiting with Local Businesses
This week I visited Osseo Savitt Paint, a great local business in our area, to discuss how business is going and what we can do to help create a small business-friendly environment in our state. It was a great discussion and I always enjoy getting out and meeting with constituents. One thing that I am hearing from a lot of our local small businesses is that the changes we made to bring property tax relief has been tremendously helpful for a number of people. This is always good to hear and I hope we can continue to create an environment where businesses can thrive and create good-paying jobs for people in our state.
Rep. Smith at Osseo Savitt Paint Store
Join me tonight in downtown Osseo for the Minidazzle festivities. Tonight is the parade and toy collection for the Toys for Tots program. Tomorrow is lunch with Santa! See here for more details and hope to see you there!
Please continue to share your thoughts with me about our state government; bill ideas and concerns are welcomed! I am honored to serve you at the Capitol. My email address is Rep.Dennis.Smith@house.mn, phone number 651-296-5502, and by mail: 375 State Office Building, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55155.
Have a great weekend!
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