It’s been good to get back home since the 2014 session ended late Friday night to discuss the issues with local citizens and various media outlets in our area.
I will co-host a series of town hall meetings with Sen. Scott Newman in the coming days to receive further input and hope you can attend. The full schedule is available at the end of this email.
As always, there was good and bad this session. One of the last things we did before adjourning was to approve a capital investment bill of $846 million in G.O. bonds. Highlights of that bill include $240 million toward buildings and repair at the U of M and MnScu, $126.3 million for Capitol building restoration, $42 million for water infrastructure and $87 million (including some cash) for local roads and bridges.
The total amount of G.O. bonding is less than what is done in an average biennium and matches the figure both parties agreed upon late in the 2013 session.
As for things that were left undone, improvements to MNsure are at the top of the list. The state’s new health insurance has struggled in its first several months of existence, with a wide range of serious problems ranging from data privacy to sustainability. Minority proposals to fix key issues were not heard. This should have been a top priority and, with a little blessing and a lot of hard work, the landscape will be different in St. Paul come 2015 so we can get serious about addressing that issue.
One other item I would like to pass along pertains to a vacant seat with the Minnesota State Council on Disability (MSCOD). I encourage local citizens who are interested to apply.
This panel was created to advise the governor, state Legislature, state agencies and the public on disability policy. MSCOD is governed by a council appointed by the governor. Council members have a disability, have a family member with a disability, or works with people with disabilities.
The current opening includes Kandiyohi, McLeod, Meeker, Renville, Big Stone, Chippewa, Lac qui Parle, Swift and Yellow Medicine and counties. Citizens from these counties interested in applying serving this council can complete a form by clicking here.
There is no formal deadline to apply, but officials urge interested citizens to submit theirs as soon as possible. More information is available by calling (651) 556-0643, emailing email@example.com, or at the aforementioned website.
Good luck and we’ll see you around the district. Memorial Day is Monday and I hope you and yours have a good, safe weekend and can attend local events to honor the people who have given so much in the name of our great nation. Please take this time to share the legacy of our soldiers with youngsters. The sacrifices men and women of our armed forces have made over the years are immense and it is important we share their proud stories with our newer generations.
The schedule for the town hall meetings is as follows:
Thursday, May 22, 3-4 p.m.
The Grounds (511 Cokato St. W.)
Thursday, May 22, 4:30-5:30 p.m.
Third Street Café (424 3rd St. N.)
Thursday, May 22, 6:30-7:30 p.m.
Meeker County Court House, Community Room B (325 Sibley Ave. N.)
Tuesday, May 27, 4-5 p.m.
Village Hall (110 Central Ave. S.)
Urdahl/Newman/Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen
Tuesday, May 27, 6:30-7:30 p.m.
Ridgewater College Hutchinson, Room 141
(2 Century Ave. SE)