There is a glitch in how our state handles drivers licenses for members of the military and a bill I authored to fix the problem passed the House this week.
I received a letter from the spouse of an active military member, detailing how difficult it is for Minnesotans to renew their licenses when they are stationed elsewhere for active duty. My bill (H.F. 186) allows a one-year extension from the date of expiration for military members and their spouses. This proposal received wide bipartisan support as it passed the House.
As chair of the Legacy Division, I also have been deeply involved with drafting the bill which appropriates revenue generated by the Legacy Fund sales tax. This pertains to the three-eighths of 1 percent Legacy tax Minnesota voters approved in 2008. The Constitution requires us to spend this money in four specific categories.
The bill I authored (H.F. 1061) was approved by a House committee this week and now will be heard by another panel.
The Legacy bill appropriates nearly $540 million during the next two years, including around $271 million this year. Legacy revenue is divided into the four required categories and the following appropriations are in this year’s bill: outdoors heritage, $92 million; clean water, $89.9 million; arts and cultural heritage, 50.6 million; parks and trails, $38.6 million.
Conference committees continue meeting to finalize other areas of our budget so we can present our finance bills to the governor for his action. There has been a lot of discussion over the accuracy of fiscal notes which estimate the costs of proposed legislation. A new House bill (H.F. 1506) would transfer the responsibility for producing fiscal notes from the executive branch to a non-partisan office in the Legislature. The fiscal-note process is controlled by the legislature in a number of other states, including Wisconsin.