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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Bud Nornes (R)

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Girls hockey, listening sessions and bills in progress

Wednesday, March 04, 2009
Friends- Congratulations to the Fergus Falls girls hockey team for its run to state consolation championship! I went to the Otters’ quarterfinals game Wednesday at “The X” and was proud to see them give it their all despite suffering a loss after a last-minute goal by Red Wing. I was very impressed with the Otters and their puck-handling skills so I wasn’t surprised they rebounded to beat Hutchinson and New Ulm. Also, the tournament atmosphere was great with all the school spirit on display. The FFHS band sounded great as it supported the team and Otters fans. As far as regular House business goes, Legislative listening sessions have been a big subject in the news lately as a joint House-Senate tour finished making its way through almost 25 Minnesota cities. We face a $4.8 billion deficit and that figure could rise to around $7 billion when the new budget forecast is issued Tuesday. The point of the listening sessions has been to provide the public with a face-to-face opportunity to express their opinions regarding the state’s finances. These events have been well-attended and that’s good to see. One thing I’ve noticed, however, is that accounts of sessions around the state seem to have a disproportionate number of opinions from people connected with particular groups, namely state entities. Maybe it’s just simply the result of these organizations placing a larger emphasis on lobbying the Legislature while workers from the private sector weren’t as apt to participate. I have been conducting my own legislative survey. Look for the results in local newspapers (and in an e-mail) soon. We still are waiting for a budget proposal to be issued from the majority party in the House and Senate. Gov. Pawlenty issued his plan several weeks ago but there hasn’t been a response yet. We should be expecting leadership to be shown by the majority; they lead committees, set budgets, etc. My big hope is they don’t wait until the last minute to propose a budget solution this session. These are critical times and the people of Minnesota deserve better than to have legislation rushed through the House and Senate. The Legislature is set to adjourn May 18, so time is ticking. In other news, I have a few bills making their way through the Legislature: Emily’s Law (prosecution of juveniles in violent crimes), Jessica’s Law (seat belts on motor coaches), I-94 designated as POW/MIA Memorial Highway, and legalizing mini trucks for road use. I’ll have more on these bills as things unfold. Until next time, Bud
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