For more information contact: Caitlyn Stenerson 651-296-5989
The 2015 Legislative Session is well underway and I’m honored to be able to serve our district, including Chanhassen and the South Lake Minnetonka community, for a second term in the Minnesota House of Representatives. This session, I will be serving on the Higher Education, Veterans Affairs Division, State Government Finance, and the Government Operations & Elections committees, on which I will serve as Vice Chair. I am excited to take on this new leadership role and look forward to promoting policies which will help to improve the lives of all Minnesotans.
The very first bill that passed off the House floor was legislation to provide tax relief to Minnesotans, which the Governor signed over the weekend. House File 6 conforms Minnesota’s tax code to some of the federal tax changes made since 2013 as it pertains to items in tax year 2014 only. In total, this bill provides $19.9 million in tax relief to hard-working Minnesotans for the recently concluded tax year. Now, as you begin to prepare and file your taxes, you’ll have access to important tax credits and certainty as it pertains to your tax liability. Hard-working Minnesotans pay enough in taxes already – and that’s especially true for the families of our community. I’m proud that the first piece of legislation the new House Republican majority passed into law leaves more of taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars in their pockets.
House Republicans have put forward five major priorities for the 2015 Legislative Session.
• Grow additional better-paying jobs for all - House File 1
• Make sure every child receives a world-class education - House File 2
• Protect aging adults’ quality of life - House File 3
• Refocus transportation dollars on roads and bridges - House File 4
• Ensure fair access and affordability in health care - House File 5
I’ve chief authored two bills to date and am working on quite a few other pieces of legislation. The first bill I introduced this session, HF149, would provide funding for capital improvements to the Excelsior Commons. My second bill, HF310, would require approval by locally-elected officials before any facility for a light rail line is built in that community. Such legislation is important to protect taxpayers from the overreach of the Met Council, an unelected body with taxing authority!
In addition to having co-authored numerous bills, I’m especially excited to have signed on to legislation authored by my colleague Rep. Kathy Lohmer from Stillwater that would phase out the Minnesota tax on Social Security income which currently impacts 383,000 Minnesotans. Minnesota is one of only seven states that taxes Social Security income! If you are a senior citizen with an income above $33,000 per year, or a couple above $45,000, you are being taxed on your Social Security benefits. I’m proud to have co-authored the ‘Retire in Minnesota Act,’ which would allow senior citizens to keep more of their hard-earned benefits. Additionally, I’ve enthusiastically signed on to HF493, which repeals Minnesota’s estate tax. We should be encouraging Minnesotans to stay in Minnesota, versus driving them out of our state and away from their children and grandchildren.
One of the first events I was honored to have attended this session was a special screening of the ‘D-Day: Normandy 1944’ film at the Science Museum of Minnesota with WWII veterans from Carver County. This event was held to honor and thank our veterans for their courageous service to our country. I’ve also had the privilege of having already met with many constituents, including those from GOCRA (Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance) and MCCL (Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life).
Excellence in education is very important to citizens throughout our district. As such, I have participated in several ‘2015 Legislative Session Priorities’ meetings, including with the Association of Metropolitan School Districts, Dr. Dennis Peterson, Superintendent of the Minnetonka Public Schools, key representatives from his administration, school board, and C.A.S.E., Minnetonka School District’s legislative advocacy group, during which we discussed the district’s education priorities for this session. I am so very proud to serve outstanding school districts like Minnetonka and look forward to advocating for each of the four districts I represent this session!
Transportation will also be an important area of discussion this legislative session. I continue to remain focused on much needed funding for roads and bridges and look forward to continuing to support the outstanding SouthWest Transit bus service which operates in our district.
As always, I encourage you to contact my office with your thoughts, comments, concerns, and ideas for legislation. I greatly appreciate having heard from so many of you! You can e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can call me at (651) 296-4315.
Please note my office has changed to 411. Mail can now be sent to 411 State Office Building, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., St. Paul, Minnesota 55155.