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Minnesota Legislature

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

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This week's news from St. Paul

Friday, March 16, 2018

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I was pleased to this week meet with the folks from A Place to Belong, a non-profit social club in Fergus Falls for people with mental illness.

Dear Neighbor,

Thank you to members of the East Ottertail Soil and Water Conservation District for coming to St. Paul to meet with me this week. The East Ottertail SWCD has conducted a series of meetings with farmers to talk about water-related issues and interest was high in sharing information. It was good that farmers were able to provide valuable input that can be constructive going forward.

Veterans Day on the Hill also was this week. The event featured a morning rally where veterans and their families from across the state gathered at the Capitol to show their support for our military and advocate for veterans priorities at the Legislature. House committees heard a number of veterans-related bills on Monday, including one that would expand the property tax exclusion for surviving spouses of disabled veterans.

We have made major progress in supporting veterans by putting a number of helpful new laws on the books in recent years. Those changes since just 2015 include:

  • Excluding all military retirement pay from state income tax
  • Allowing active duty military members and their families to bypass the one-year wait and immediately qualify for higher education grants and scholarships
  • Increasing funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs and state veterans homes
  • Making it easier for veteran-owned small businesses to get state government contracts
  • Establishing a Military Spouses and Families Day to honor Minnesota military families
  • Designating the Honor and Remember Flag as a symbol of the state’s commitment to fallen military members
  • Expanding the Minnesota GI Bill to include apprenticeship and on-the-job training benefits

The state’s new system for vehicle and license registration was back in the news this week after it was announced that the business technology head at MN.IT had been fired. This is one of the latest developments after months of project mismanagement, failures and frustrations.

The House has been working on a bill which requires the governor to tap into existing funding within his executive agencies to provide the $10 million in funding reportedly needed to continue MNLARS operations. Gov. Dayton has said he accepts responsibility, and this approach gives him the opportunity to back up those words with actions.

The first deadline for House bills to make preliminary progress this session arrives next week. It is hard to believe the session is now approximately one-third in the books, so time is precious.

Until next time, please stay in touch.

Sincerely,

Bud

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