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

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Economic update; new rules; helping low-wage individuals

Friday, February 15, 2013

Dear Neighbor,

We recently received more good news on the economic front. A supplemental report from Minnesota Management & Budget shows that our state revenue again exceeded projections.

The latest report shows the state collected $140 million more than expected in January. Going back to November of 2011, the state has received nearly $3 billion more than anticipated. This is further evidence our state is heading in the right direction as the improvements we made in 2011-12 continue to produce results.

We will receive another full report later this month, a key component to shaping our new two-year state budget.

NEW HOUSE RULES LIMIT DEBATE

The House had its first marathon session of 2013 on Monday, lasting until past 2 a.m. Tuesday. We were discussing a change in House rules which requires amendments to be offered 24 hours before a bill reaches the floor. The debate was contentious. Some people feel we were wasting time, while others say the ability to offer amendments on the fly is a vital part of the process and should continue.

I believe we often improve bills through floor amendments and sometimes changes in legislation are not anticipated until the floor discussion takes place. Many people said last fall they want to see the Legislature do a better job of working together, but this maneuver would stifle debate. The House always has been a place for us to engage in lively, active debates on the issues of the day. These new rules will lead to scripted, pre-determined outcomes.

Democrats took similar action the last time they were in the majority by placing time limits on floor debates. In good faith, Republicans lifted those restrictions in 2011 when in the majority. Democrats went even a step further to silence the minority this time.

NORTHERN CONNECTIONS BILL

I have authored a bill seeking to continue funding for Northern Connections, a Perham-based operation which helps low-wage individuals coming off welfare programs, including the Diversionary Work Program and the Minnesota Family Investment Program. Northern Connections is a non-profit organization serving 12 counties in our area. It offers a helpline to assist people in connecting with resources to achieve financial independence. This program has been very successful in serving local citizens and I am pleased to offer this legislation.

Call Northern Connections at (218) 346-4624 if you are interested in their services. Calls are free and confidential. Please pass this information along to anyone you feel may be interested.

Sincerely,

Bud

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