For more information contact: House GOP Communications 651-296-5522
With the 2018 Session being completed, it's been great to spend time with my family and around our community. I also hope you've been able to get out and enjoy the summer weather we've been having. Here are a few updates from the past couple of weeks:
Governor Dayton Vetoes Bills
On Wednesday, May 23rd, Governor Mark Dayton vetoed the tax conformity-emergency education compromise plan as well as the omnibus supplemental spending agreement that was sent to his desk on Sunday by the legislature. Governor Dayton's veto of tax conformity, school safety, and emergency funding for schools will hurt Minnesota families. It's truly disappointing and unfortunate that the governor chose to play politics rather than do what is best for Minnesota families.
The compromise plan included an average of $96 in new per-pupil spending across the state, education dollars the governor repeatedly called an emergency. These schools will now receive no new money due to this veto by the governor.
As I stated in my end of session update that week, we sent compromise plans to the governor's desk. The tax conformity and education plan were part of a compromise effort between legislative Republicans and Governor Dayton. In the supplemental budget bill, House and Senate Republicans compromised with the governor—more than 60 percent of the objections raised by the governor were removed or amended—meeting him more than halfway. The bill contained shared priorities like ensuring safe schools, repairing roads and bridges, tackling the opioid epidemic, protecting aging and vulnerable adults, and preventing a cut to caregivers of disabled Minnesotans.
The bills we sent to the governor build on the tremendously successful accomplishments from the 2017 session that included the largest tax cut in nearly two decades, the largest investment in roads and bridges in state history without a gas tax increase, major funding boosts for education, and reforms to lower health care costs and boost health care choices for Minnesota families.
Bonding Bill Signed into Law
On Wednesday, May 30th, Governor Dayton signed the bonding bill into law. The bonding bill focuses heavily on transportation infrastructure and asset preservation by funding $825 million in general obligation bonds for construction projects throughout the state.
Our community will benefit greatly from this bonding bill as three projects, which were all bills that I chief authored, were included in the bill. First, there was $450,000 to the Rosemount Family Resource Center for an expansion of their outgrown space; second, there was $1 million for a Department of Transportation grant to the city of Rosemount for the Bonaire Path Railroad Quiet Zone; and finally, the Minnesota Zoo received $6 million for asset preservation. It brings the total bonding received by the Minnesota Zoo this biennium to $10 million.
Other funding includes:
With funding such as trunk highway bonds included, the bill provides an additional $416 million for transportation intended for Highways 14, 23, and 252.
Another top priority in the bill that got signed into law is $25 million for school security facility grants, making critical improvements for student safety. This was a top priority for me and all of my colleagues in the legislature.
Rosemount Family Resource Center
Today, June 1st, I toured 360 Communities Rosemount Family Resource Center to see their outgrown space. My bill, which allocated $450,000 for their expansion, was included in the Bonding Bill. The Center is run almost solely by donations and volunteers to help those in need. See their website here.
One of the great traditions of the House is that after we adjourn sine die, retiring members give retirement speeches. You can watch the speeches from this year here. These speeches show a glimpse into the diversity represented in the Minnesota House and that at the end of the day, we all try to come together to do what we believe is best for Minnesota. I wish the best to all of my retiring colleagues.
Legislative Session Wrap Up
This week I joined a number of my House and Senate colleagues at the Dakota County Regional Chamber Legislative Breakfast. We all gave our perspectives on how the session went and had a great discussion.
Rep. Wills with Sen. Greg Clausen, Sen. Jim Carlson, Rep. Regina Barr, and Rep. Roz Peterson.
Students at the Ordway
It was so fun to welcome District 196 Diamond Path and Rosemount Elementary Schools to the Ordway's "Moon Mouse: A Space Odyssey" made possible by Flint Hills, the Legacy Amendment, and the Ordway!
School & Business Tours
Rep. Wills toured FIT Academy Charter School in Apple Valley and talked with Executive Director Claud Allaire about their approach of balancing mind/body/emotions to address the needs of the whole student.
Rep. Wills toured District 196 Eastview High School and talked with Assistant Principal Jodi Hanson about the great work they're doing at the school and the critical need she sees for more school counselors and mental health support for students.
Rep. Wills visited District 196 Rosemount Elementary School to talk about the great things happening at the school and the education and school safety funding that passed the legislature.
Rep. Wills attended the Minnesota Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities Legislative Breakfast.
Kangaroos Are Back!
The Kangaroos are back at the Minnesota Zoo! As of last Saturday, May 26th, Kangaroo Crossing is now open again. See more details here.
Keep in Touch
Thank you to so many of you who have contacted my office during the 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.
Have a great weekend!
State Representative District 57B
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