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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Melissa Hortman (DFL)

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Legislative Update – December 12, 2016

Monday, December 12, 2016

Dear neighbors,

Season’s Greetings! I hope you enjoyed the Thanksgiving holiday and are ready for the winter season ahead. I am writing to provide you with a brief update of some of the work that is currently underway at the Capitol.

First, the election is behind us, the people of Minnesota have spoken, and now leaders are called to govern. I am honored to return to the State Capitol in St. Paul to represent our community. I am also looking forward to serving as the new Minority Leader for the DFL House Caucus. You can read more about my outlook on this new role in the Star Tribune here.

Budget Surplus: $1.4 Billion for 2018-19

Minnesota received excellent economic news earlier this month. On December 2nd, the Office of Minnesota Management & Budget reported that our state has a projected $1.4 billion budget surplus for fiscal years 2018-19. The current two-year period is now projected to end with a balance of $678 million, after $334 million is put into state budget reserves, as required by law. 

The forecast is good news, but there are many Minnesota families who don’t have a projected surplus for their family budgets. Minnesota’s prosperity is not uniformly shared across the state.

Minnesota's economic health varies by community. We need to work to ensure that our prosperity is shared across the state and across all communities. For Minnesota companies, the biggest challenges at the moment are a strong dollar and tightening workforce availability. One of the most important things the Minnesota Legislature can do is to continue to invest in people -- especially in education -- to make sure we continue to have the high-quality, highly-educated workforce that has made Minnesota an economic force to be reckoned with. We need to make sure we protect the long-term economic security of middle class families and the most vulnerable members of our communities. We must ensure that incomes grow, schools remain strong, healthcare is affordable, and smart investments are made in our public infrastructure.

Throughout my service in the Minnesota House, I have consistently fought to improve the lives of Minnesotans. I have done this by working to make college more affordable, to increase economic opportunities throughout the state by investing in broadband, infrastructure, rural communities, and workforce development, and to make it easier for families to access high quality child care and preschool. I expect to continue this work in 2017 and 2018.

New State Parks License Plates

Finally, last week new specialty license plates were unveiled that provide their owners with unlimited access to all 75 Minnesota state parks and recreation areas for one calendar year from purchase.

The cost of the new plates will start at $60, plus tax. This total includes a one-time $10 fee for the plate itself and a minimum $50 contribution (renewable annually). For those looking for ways to provide additional support to our state parks and trails, this is a great option because the proceeds from the plates will directly support parks maintenance and upkeep.

The new plates feature an image of a canoe on the water, surrounded by Minnesota's four seasons. Designed by Michelle Vesaas of Coon Rapids, it was chosen from among 80 entries as the winning entry in a contest that took place earlier this year in conjunction with the 125th anniversary of Minnesota State Parks and Trails.

For more information about the selection of plates and how to order them, visit or contact the DNR Information Center at or 888-646-6367 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Stay in Touch

You can always contact me if you have questions or concerns at 651-296-4280 or by email at .


Melissa Hortman

State Representative

Minority Leader