The Legislature started its work on January 8, 2019, and already it has been a busy session.
Last week, the Annual March for Life rally and the Gun Owners Caucus Day at the Capitol brought many citizens to the Capitol. This week it was organizations of bikers and home school parents. I enjoyed meeting supporters of those groups and discussing issues important to them.
So far this session, I have written and introduced a few bills as the chief author and have signed on to support several others.
I am the chief author of a bill that would allow Minnesotans to carry a firearm without a permit unless otherwise barred from doing so. I also introduced a bill that would establish an individual’s right not to join a union or join one as they see fit, and an employer’s right to hire union or non-union workers, not forced by the hand of government.
I also have been working on getting funding for dredging the Minneiska boat launch. The DNR was supposed to fund that project but did not. It’s important to make sure that the money the DNR spends on recreational facilities is spread fairly around the state, including Southeastern Minnesota.
I have also co-authored bills that
Preserve our 2nd amendment rights and remove the duty to retreat when defending yourself or another person, not just in your home.
Remove the state tax on Social Security payments. The Federal Government taxes it and we can't do anything about that but at least we can join the majority of other states that do not tax Social Security.
Most of my work during the first months of the session will take place in House committees. For the 2019-2020 legislative biennium, I have been assigned the following committees: Ways and Means, Property Taxes and Rules.
Ways and Means is a very important committee in the House. It is where all the final spending decisions are made on bills passed through the House of Representatives.
I continue to be on the Property Taxes committee. I will keep looking for ways to lower the property tax burden on citizens, to make them fairer, simpler and less of a burden. The discussion of my bipartisan work and proposal to pass the House, Garage, and 1 Acre bill for school construction levies continues.
The Rules Committee makes all the rules about what bills will be put up for discussion. You may have heard that the Rules Committee is trying to pass some controversial rules that prevent citizens from seeing the path of a bill as easily as they did in the past. This is very important because citizens come to testify at the capitol and many from rural Minnesota are making a long drive that they must plan ahead. The rules limit their ability to know where bills are in committee and when they should expect to testify. It’s unfortunate that the Majority decided to change the way we do things in a way that is easy for them, but worse for transparency. I will continue to oppose these changes.
The legislative process can seem complicated, but there are some useful tools online to help understand and follow it: Minnesota House of Representatives
–This is the main site of the Minnesota House with links to committee schedules, bills and more. Session Daily
-A nonpartisan publication of Minnesota House of Representatives Public Information Services which a daily and weekly summary of what happened at the legislature during session. New laws
-Compiled by the Minnesota House of Representatives Public Information Services. TV coverage
-Coverage is broadcast statewide – along with Minnesota Senate television coverage – on our local PBS station’s digital Minnesota Channel available on many cable systems and is free on over-the-air channels. Streaming video
-Live Internet video streaming of more legislative hearings and floor activities that could not make the TV channels due to timing. How a bill becomes law
-A 16-page booklet explaining, in a simple, straightforward manner, how a bill moves from an idea to law. Capitol Steps is intended as a resource for junior high school students. Twitter
-Follow the Twitter account @MNHouseInfo
to see nonpartisan news and other information from the Legislature.
I hope you will continue to follow the legislature for the next three months while it is in session and contact me when you want me to know your thoughts on an issue or if you have a problem you think I or our constituent service and research team could help with. We all work for you. Luke, Margaret, and Andy have already helped a few of my constituents this session. If you are coming to the capitol, please do call us ahead of time so that we can clear my schedule for a visit.