Here is the latest news from the Capitol!
This week we finished voting on the first round of omnibus budget bills. Most of them passed along party lines due to the controversial policy and massive tax hikes contained in the bills.
The Transportation Omnibus includes a 70 percent increase in the gas tax, up to 48.5 cents per gallon, which would be especially harmful in Greater Minnesota and in our border cities and towns.
The Health and Human Services bill brings back a tax on doctor visits, hospital stays, and medical procedures, which would increase healthcare costs, and does not extend the successful reinsurance program which could cause health insurance premiums to skyrocket next year. It also cuts over $68 million from nursing homes.
The Public Safety omnibus bill includes some very controversial gun control provisions that would infringe on our right to bear arms, among other basic Constitutional rights.
Across all budget bills, there are over $12 billion in tax increases over the next four years. All of these tax and fee increases and funding cuts were supported by Democrats even though we have a billion dollar surplus in the state budget. I voted no.
House Democrats adopted an amendment to the Environment and Natural Resources bill this week to ban wolf hunting in Minnesota. This amendment is harmful to Greater Minnesota, where we face a daily threat to livestock and other animals from wolves. Minnesota has one of the largest populations of wolves in the country, and the ability to manage that population is an important issue to Northern Minnesota. I voted no on this amendment.
Also on the Environment and Natural Resources bill, the House adopted my amendment to allow people with physical disabilities to use motorized mobility aids in Wildlife Management Areas. Right now, to allow somebody with a disability to use a motorized vehicle in a WMA, it is a multi-step process involving bureaucrats in St. Paul, local wildlife managers, and others, and that process needs to be repeated for every time that person wants to use it. My amendment would streamline the process and make it easier for people with physical disabilities to enjoy our WMAs and participate in outdoor recreational activities. As the bill makes its way through the conference committee process, I will continue to advocate for this commonsense policy change.
MNLARS and Deputy Registrars
Governor Walz this week indicated that he would scrap the disastrous MNLARS system and start over with a product from a third party developer. It has been years of dealing with this boondoggle of a system, with our deputy registrars taking the brunt of the fallout from it. Yesterday, we attempted again to declare an urgency and bring up a bill to reimburse deputy registrars for the money they have lost from dealing with this failed system through no fault of their own, but Democrats voted it down yet again.
My door is always open to the needs and priorities of our area. Please feel free to let me know if I can be of assistance to you and your family. I am here to serve you!