The Legislature is back in St. Paul today for the start of the 2014 legislative session.
One key thing we did on Day 1 in the House was to approve a $20 million appropriation for heating assistance. This was an emergency response to this unusually cold winter during which a propane supply shortage caused dramatic increases in heating costs.
This bill will provide relief to Minnesotans who rely on heating assistance, but it is only a start. We are examining ways we can mitigate future propane supply shortages through more reliable delivery and storage methods. I will follow up with more as bills take shape.
As for other news from St. Paul, this is a non-budget year and a relatively short session in general. A capital investment bill to fund projects is the only legislation with public expectation of passage. It will be interesting to see how that bonding bill plays out, because it will need to have a price tag low enough to generate the bipartisan support necessary for passage through a super majority. It appears the governor’s $1 billion recommendation will not fly and that some questionable projects will need to be trimmed.
I will continue serving four committees this session: Legacy, capital investment, education policy and elections. Periodic email updates I send will provide my perspectives on these issues and more throughout the session. Session Daily also is a good resource as a nonpartisan publication providing hard news from the Capitol. You also can watch streaming video to see what is taking place at the Capitol.
Please keep in touch as the session unfolds.