This week’s update from the Capitol starts with a note to commend those involved in running a very successful Otter Tail County DWI court program. I attended a program graduation last weekend in Fergus Falls and came away impressed in a number of ways.
The participants deserve credit for the accomplishments they are making and the program organizers deserve a tip of the cap for the work they are doing to help citizens rehabilitate.
Programs like this are extremely important in terms of keeping the public safe and saving taxpayers’ money by reducing recidivism rates. One report I read found that DWI courts reduce general recidivism, including repeat DWIs, by an average of more than 12 percent, with the best DWI Courts reducing recidivism by 50-60 percent.
The Fergus Falls Daily Journal ran an interesting story on this subject as it pertains to Otter Tail County last December. Click here if you want to check it out.
As for news from St. Paul, a recent focus in the Higher Education Policy and Finance Committee I chair has been on filling vacancies with the University of Minnesota Board of Regents.
There are five openings and Tom Anderson from Alexandria is one of the candidates recommended by both the House and the Senate and, upon confirmation, would represent Minnesota’s 7th Congressional District with the board. Confirmations are made by a joint meeting of the full House-Senate bodies, something we expect to take place in the next handful of weeks.
Terms last six years and Anderson would succeed Clyde Allen of Moorhead, who served two terms.
A couple of bills I am working on are set to soon receive House committee hearings. One bill is designed to incentivize remodeling projects or other upgrades at resorts by exempting materials purchased for those purposes from the state sales tax. The other bill aims to spur economic development by providing local governments the flexibility to provide property tax exemptions of up to five years for new or expanded commercial properties. This would allow for more projects to take place on speculation and encourage entrepreneurship.
I will let you know how things unfold.