For more information contact: House GOP Communications 651-296-5522
We are down to the final few days of session here at the Capitol. We must adjourn on Monday and must have bills passed out of both bodies by Sunday night. We've had a spectacularly productive biennium and we are making progress on making it even better. Governor Dayton and legislative leaders are currently negotiating the final few aspects of bills now. Stay tuned for more details and how we wrap up!
Minnesota Zoo Turns 40!
The Minnesota Zoo officially opened its doors on May 22nd, 1978. With the Minnesota Zoo turning 40, it's time for a birthday party! Starting yesterday, Friday, May 19th, and through today, Saturday, May 20th, there were several special activities to celebrate the Zoo's birthday. My kiddos and I joined in the festivities at the Zoo this morning before I came to the Capitol for the day. We had a great time!
National Police Week
It’s National Police Week, and I wanted to send out a sincere thank you to all of the brave men and women who protect our state and communities as members of law enforcement.
National Police Week also honors those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty. You can learn more about National Police week here.
DWI Bill Heads to Governor Dayton's Desk
On Friday, the Minnesota House passed Senate File 2578, a bill chief authored in the House by Reps. Anna Wills, R- Rosemount, and Keith Franke, R-St. Paul Park, on an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote of 116-5. The bill criminalizes driving while under the influence of an “intoxicating substance" and closes a loophole in DWI law that came to light following a Minnesota Supreme Court case ruling in October of last year that a driver who drove after "huffing" over-the-counter aerosol spray products containing difluoroethane, or DFE, could not be charged under Minnesota's DWI laws - even though "huffing" these products leads to driver impairment.
I am glad we were able to come together in the legislature in a bipartisan fashion and get this important update to Minnesota's DWI laws sent to the governor's desk. It's tragic that it took one of my own constituents losing his life before we became fully aware of this loophole in our laws. My thoughts and prayers remain with his family and loved ones. I look forward to Governor Dayton signing this bill into law.
We engaged stakeholders and garnered support from a wide range of interest groups looking to improve the safety of Minnesota's roads. The Minnesota DWI Task Force, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Minnesotans for Safe Driving, and several law enforcement organizations from across the state were among those to lend their support. Senator Greg Clausen was the chief author in the Senate, which passed the bill earlier that day.
Video of my closing speech on this bill is available here.
Thank you for all the feedback on this important issue. Unfortunately, it does not look like there is going to be an agreement this session on a bill to restrict cell phone usage in cars to only hands-free devices.
While both distracted driving and texting while driving is already against the law in Minnesota, I am supportive of measures like this to cut down on distracted driving. Many legislators felt that the language in the current bill wasn't strong or clear enough to be effectively enforced, so I expect that the language will be worked on so we can have an even stronger bill that can gain more support in the future.
Keep in mind that even using bluetooth devices in your car can still be just as distracting and deadly. See this video that makes this point vividly clear: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8UFB7CbYtKA
As a mom, this video is extremely sobering and makes me even more resolved to be alert and drive safely on our roads. I believe that regardless of whether any new laws pass regarding hands-free cell phone use or distracted driving, it is everyone's responsibility to follow the laws we currently have and be the change we want to see.
Following an investigation by KMSP-9 that was on the news this week, my colleagues and I are disgusted by this abuse of your tax dollars and are working to get measures in place to put an end to this abuse. House Republicans unveiled legislation that will do the following:
Later in the week, Jim Nobles, the Legislative Auditor, announced that he is going to investigate the Child Care Assistance Program.
On Wednesday, May 16th, Governor Dayton vetoed the Women’s Right to Know bill. This bill would have required a physician to notify women undergoing an ultrasound prior to an abortion procedure that she may view the active ultrasound image of her unborn child if she would like to (the woman may turn down the opportunity to view).
I am disappointed that he vetoed legislation that I believe would empower women and ensure they all have more relevant information in front of them when making the decision whether or not to get an abortion. For more see here.
Proposed Constitutional Amendment for Roads and Bridges Funding
On Thursday, May 17th, we passed proposed legislation on a bipartisan 76-54 vote that would constitutionally dedicate existing sales tax revenue from auto parts to statewide road and bridge construction. This would build on our historic transportation investments made during the 2017 session, all without raising taxes.
If approved by the Minnesota House and Senate, voters would decide this November whether or not to redirect the already-collected sales taxes to road and bridge repair on state, county, township, city, and small-town projects.
Anyone who has driven on Minnesota's roads anywhere in this state knows we need to do a better job of taking care of them. This proposal has the support of a broad coalition of advocates that includes labor, business, agriculture, and transportation advocates. We believe the people of Minnesota should have a say in dedicating this funding to fixing our roads and bridges. Without this proposed amendment, dollars that should go towards roads and bridges all too often end up elsewhere.
I hope the Senate acts on this soon.
Senate File 3367
This week, the House and Senate passed legislation that would require all hotel and motel workers to undergo training on how to properly identify and report sex trafficking to proper law enforcement officials. The bill passed unanimously in the House and near-unanimously - only one nay vote - in the Senate.
I truly believe this will make Minnesota a safer place for some of the most vulnerable and exploited among us.
As we near the end of session, there are a number of bills passing off the House Floor. I just wanted to highlight a few bills I think are noteworthy:
Eastview Girls Basketball
Rep. Erin Maye Quade and I presented a House Resolution on the House Floor recognizing the State Champion Eastview Grils Basketball team. Congrats girls! Watch the resolution here.
Thank You for Your Service
Rosemount High School Principal John Wollersheim announced recently he will be retiring after 33 years of service. Thank you to Principal Wollersheim for your dedication to our community and students! Read more about his retirement and service to District 196 here.
Rosemount Grads Enter Military
Eleven Rosemount High School seniors were recognized at an annual military induction ceremony. I am so proud of these Rosemount High School graduates for committing to serve our country! While I was able to provide the graduates with individual House Resolutions, I wish I could have been there to thank them in person for their selfless service.
Meetings this Week
Rep. Wills met with constituents Ry and Craig, along with some of their colleagues, from Regions Hospital. They were there to support the bill to allow additional beds at Regions -- a bill that passed this week.
Rep. Wills met with Rosemount Troop 207 scouts who came to the Capitol for a tour and to learn about Minnesota state government.
IN OUR COMMUNITY:
Apple Valley State of the City
Find out what is happening in Apple Valley along with plans for the future with Mayor Mary Hamann-Roland's State of the City address. It will take place on Wednesday, May 23rd, with a networking event beginning at 11:30 and lunch served at noon. It will take place at Bogart's Entertainment Center, 14917 Garrett Ave in Apple Valley, and cost $20 per person. RSVP is required, which you can do by emailing email@example.com with "State of the City RSVP" in the subject line.
Help Create a Market Fest
The City of Rosemount is looking for residents who are interested in serving on an informal Market Fest Committee. The Committee will work to bring a variety of vendors to a new weekend outdoor market in Rosemount. If you are interested, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Keep in Touch
Thank you to so many of you who have contacted my office so far this Session! I receive hundreds of emails weekly and value all of your feedback. Thank you also for your patience as I work to respond to each of you.
As always, please don't hesitate to contact me with your comments, questions, and concerns. Email me anytime at email@example.com or call 651-296-4306. Stay up to date with what I am up to at the legislature and around our community by following my updates on Facebook at www.facebook.com/repannawills.
Have a great weekend!
State Representative District 57B
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