Today marks the 60th day since the end of the regular 2016 session. Since we are in an election year, a number of Campaign Finance Board regulations come into play at this point. One prohibits legislative updates being sent via email until after the November election. So for now, here’s one last rundown of recent issues.
A number of new state laws take effect Aug. 1, including several pertaining to public safety. Summaries of the new laws are available at this link. You also can click here for a complete listing of all the laws passed by the Legislature in 2016.
Discussions continue regarding a special session that could take place in August. The focus would be on bills pertaining to capital investment and tax relief. The House passed both bills in the waning stages of the regular session last May, but neither were enacted. A last-minute change by the Senate brought the bonding bill to a halt. Then Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed the tax bill, largely over a one-word error that many believe could have been rectified with a simple letter of clarification.
Many worthy projects were included in the $1.1 billion bonding package the House passed during the 2016 session, and they warrant being revisited if and when the Legislature briefly reconvenes this summer. The focus should remain on projects designed to relieve highway congestion, increase safety on our roadways, improve water quality and spur economic growth. These goals were the focus of the House proposal – ahead of more dubious propositions such as expanding Light Rail Transit. Completing critical infrastructure and maintaining existing state facilities is the fiscally responsible approach for expending our tax dollars.
The tax bill the governor vetoed passed the Legislature with around 90 percent approval. It would provide more than $800 million in tax relief for working families, college graduates, veterans, farmers and small businesses.
An important provision for tax relief was enacted via separate legislation this year. It provided a historic tax cut for Minnesota veterans. Minnesota was an outlier in that reports show it was one of only five states to fully tax military pension retirements of those who served. With the bill's enactment, Minnesota joins the vast majority of other states by providing tax relief for military pensions.
SUPPORTING LAW ENFORCEMENT
With so much tragic news regarding law enforcement safety, I feel it's important to express my support for our law enforcement departments and urge folks in our communities to also reach out. Let's let them know just how grateful we are for the work they do each and every day. Let's make sure they know our community stands with them during this difficult time. The actions and hostility from a small number of people should not create doubt for one moment that our community stands behind them.
UNTIL NEXT TIME
Even though email updates will cease for the time being, it remains my duty to continue working on behalf of the citizens of District 38A. Please feel free to contact me with any questions, concerns or are looking for assistance on an individual basis. You can reach me at (651) 296-2907 or email Rep.Linda.Runbeck@House.MN.
Thank for the privilege of serving as your state representative and hope you have a great summer.
Rep. Linda Runbeck