For more information contact: House GOP Communications 651-296-5522
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Here is an update from the Capitol.
HIGHLIGHTS IN THIS UPDATE:
I would like to thank the hundreds of Eden Prairie residents who took my 2015 Legislative Survey. The input and suggestions I receive on issues being debated at the Capitol is invaluable to my efforts to represent our community.
Some of the highlights of the survey include:
To see the full results of my survey, please go here.
Once again, thank you to everyone who participated!
Sunday Liquor Sales
On Tuesday, the House voted on the Omnibus Liquor Bill. I offered an amendment on the House Floor to allow municipalities and local governments to choose whether or not their local liquor stores would have the option of being open on Sundays. It was voted down 57-75. A full repeal on Sunday sales was not voted upon as an amendment to the bill on the House Floor.
While the effort to allow Sunday sales did not reach the 68 votes needed to pass, momentum is certainly growing. The last time the House voted on the issue, support was at a meager 21 votes, and this year 57 Members voted to allow local governments to decide if liquor stores in their area could be open on Sundays. I will continue to advocate in favor of a repeal as a matter of economic freedom. Business owners should be able to choose the days they wish to operate and satisfy the demands of their customers, without undue state government interference.
Update on House Omnibus Bills
Over the past two weeks, the House began to debate and pass omnibus finance bills, legislation that will fund all areas of state government over the next two years. From there, the Senate and House will take these bills to conference committees where they will negotiate to come up with final, agreed-upon legislation.
Omnibus bills that have been heard and passed by the House so far include Taxes, Education, Transportation, Health and Human Services, State Government, Jobs and Energy, Public Safety, and Higher Education. Below are a few highlights about some of these bills.
Transportation Omnibus Bill
The first omnibus bill debated in the House was the Transportation Omnibus Bill. Included in the legislation is the Road and Bridge Act which makes a significant $7 billion investment in our roads and bridges over the next decade. In all, the bill will fund the immediate repair or replacement of 15,500 lane miles and 330 bridges across Minnesota—all without a tax increase.
Tax Omnibus Bill
On Wednesday, April 29, the House Republicans passed the Omnibus Tax Bill which provides $2 billion in tax relief to middle class families, college students, seniors, veterans, farmers and job creators in Minnesota.
Several provisions I authored are incorporated into the bill including: (1) conforming the estate tax exemption to the federal level so family businesses can be passed onto the next generation; (2) enhanced dependent care tax credits to offer tax relief to families with daycare expenses; and (3) a research and development tax credit to spur business start-ups and entrepreneurial innovation.
Our Tax Omnibus Bill will greatly benefit families and job providers in Eden Prairie. I am pleased that we can invest in our top priorities like education and transportation while still returning surplus dollars to hardworking taxpayers through tax relief.
Education Omnibus Bill
As Chair of the House Education Finance Committee, I am tasked with carrying the Education Omnibus Bill which passed the House last Saturday. I am particularly proud of this legislation because it works to ensure Minnesota students are receiving a world-class education, prioritizes tackling the achievement gap, and offers targeted, parent-directed early childhood education opportunities to ensure high risk children are ready for kindergarten.
Provisions in the omnibus bill include a $179 statewide increase in biennial per pupil funding, a $30 million increase in early learning scholarships and a $9.5 million increase for school readiness aid. Additionally, the bill empowers teachers, students and schools by reducing mandated student testing, reforming the seniority-only policy for teacher retention, streamlining and clarifying the out-of-state teacher licensure process, and by allowing districts to tap community experts for vocational, technical and career education programs.
Health and Human Services Omnibus Bill
On Tuesday, April 28, the House passed the HHS Omnibus Bill which will protect aging adults' quality of life by increasing nursing home reimbursements and improving the wages of care providers. The bill also protects our most vulnerable, investing in child protection services, programs to protect homeless youth, the unborn and victims of sex trafficking. Finally, the legislation respects Minnesota taxpayers, requiring the Department of Human Services to audit public programs to eliminate waste and abuse which is estimated to save the state at least $300 million per year.
I will keep you updated on more omnibus bills and the state budget as we move closer to the end of the 2015 session.
Please continue to send me your thoughts, ideas and suggestions. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-296-7449. I look forward to hearing from you!
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