The package of finance bills that would create our new state budget have gained preliminary passage. Now, joint conference committees are working to resolve differences between language in House and Senate versions.
I have accepted an appointment to serve on the conference committee pertaining to the higher education finance bill. I serve as the minority lead on the Higher Education Finance and Policy Committee. My top priority with the conference committee will be to help students by supporting provisions that limit tuition and increase grant assistance.
Our attention on the House floor has turned to policy bills as we await the return of finance bills in their finished form. One of those policy bills pertains to transportation and I successfully offered an amendment that will increase speed limits on state highways from 55 mph to 60 mph over the course of the next several years. There would be no specific date of enactment. The speed limit would increase to 60 mph on any given highway when its signs are replaced as part of normal state procedure.
The Senate’s transportation policy bill also includes this provision, making it more likely to remain intact through the conference committee process.
Another transportation amendment I authored was unsuccessful. It would have eliminated next year’s sunset date on allowing mini trucks to be used on some Minnesota roads. I will continue working to extend the usage of these trucks.
Current law indicates local counties and/or cities must adopt a resolution allowing mini trucks to be driven on their roads. I encourage citizens to speak with local officials to make this happen in our area. There are 11 counties in Minnesota that have passed resolutions for mini trucks, but none in District 8A.
We expect to wrap up the week by considering a bill that would increase the minimum wage in Minnesota. Day care unionization, same-sex marriage and public-employee pensions all could come up as soon as next week. I will keep you posted on these and other issues.