For more information contact: Caitlyn Stenerson 651-296-5989
Friends and neighbors,
The Minnesota Legislature adjourned its 2015 legislative session at midnight on Monday. My Republican colleagues and I worked many long hours over the course of the past several weeks to pass budget bills which include great policy reforms that will help Minnesota families.
I am very pleased to report that Republicans held the line and rejected Governor Dayton and the DFL’s insistence that we raise the gas tax. If there’s one thing I heard loudly and clearly (and repeatedly) from my constituents – and I received a lot of feedback the past several months – it was ‘no gas tax!’ The last thing hardworking Minnesotans need is to spend an additional $600/year per family on gas.
Unfortunately, since we refused to raise your taxes, Governor Dayton and the Senate DFL would not even consider our tax bill which provides over $2 billion of tax relief to Minnesota families, seniors, veterans, students, small business owners with commercial property interests and others. Furthermore, they tied our $7 billion transportation bill, which provides a reliable, dedicated source of funding for infrastructure for roads and bridges over a 10-year period, to the tax bill. No gas tax? Then no comprehensive transportation or tax bill! Needless to say, I am extremely disappointed by this and believe me; I know you are, too.
Please know that we will do all we can to advocate for these bills next session and will continue to work on these initiatives during the interim as well. I hope that the governor and DFL will recognize the importance of tax relief and investments in roads and bridges, and will demonstrate a willingness to work with us to pass these bills.
The K-12 Education bill increases funding for our schools by well over $1 billion [with a ‘b’] - an average of $205 per pupil ensuring that every child in Minnesota, regardless of zip code, will be provided the opportunity to receive an excellent education. Schools in our district will benefit from this investment. While the K-12 Education bill passed with bipartisan support from both chambers, the Governor announced that he has vetoed this bill over his insistence that the legislature fund universal pre-K. While I wholeheartedly support the choice of parents to enroll their children in pre-K programming, I also recognize that each student learns differently and that a one-size-fits-all approach to programing is not the answer. It’s obvious that such a mandate would negatively impact childcare providers – many of whom are small business owners and private school programs as well ... not to mention the fiscal well-being of our public school districts. As we are called back by the governor for a special session - of his doing - sometime within the next month or so, I will continue to oppose Governor Dayton’s attempt to implement a costly universal pre-K mandate.
We also passed a statewide rate of reimbursement for our nursing homes, increasing the funding allotted in order to retain and attract high-quality care providers. This investment will benefit nursing homes in our district and will go a long way toward providing safe and supportive care for our aging population.
Furthermore – and with bipartisan support – the legislature passed protections for our Second Amendment rights, including legalizing suppressors, protecting against unlawful seizures, and saving law enforcement officials time (and therefore taxpayers money) by allowing law-abiding permit-to-carry holders the ability to carry a concealed firearm on Capitol grounds.
These provisions, and more – all of which have bipartisan support – await the governor’s signature. I am hopeful he will sign these bills into law in the coming days.
While we have concluded the 2015 legislative session and will not reconvene until March 8, 2016, I continue to serve as your State Representative throughout the interim and would be more than happy to speak with you about any concerns you may have. Please stay in touch by calling me at (651) 296-4272, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also contact me via mail at 411 State Office Building, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55155.
Thanks for the tremendous amount of feedback you’ve shared during the past legislative session. I greatly appreciate your level of engagement and am honored to serve as your representative.
Have a great week!