The legislature held our one-day special session Friday and into the early morning hours on Saturday to pass the budget bills vetoed by Governor Dayton and complete the 2016-2017 budget. I am disappointed that the Governor forced us into this situation by vetoing bipartisan bills. The Governor chose not to get involved in the legislative process until the very end, and tried to force his agenda through in a special session. Republicans stood strong against the Governor's demands and were able to pass real reforms that are going to be good for Minnesota.
The Jobs and Energy bill and the Agriculture and Environment bill both respect taxpayers by cutting spending while still investing in Greater Minnesota priorities like workforce housing, broadband, and job training. It also provides much-needed relief for avian flu. It also makes environmental permitting reforms that cut red tape and burdensome regulations. The Jobs and Energy bill includes unemployment assistance for laid-off steelworkers on the Iron Range and poultry workers impacted by avian flu as well.
I voted against the Education bill because it simply doesn't do enough to promote school choice especially for low income and at-risk students many of whom are trapped in failing schools. It also doesn't include other reforms that will make a difference for the achievement gap.
I was also disappointed that it did not include the Safe Schools and Privacy bill which would have protected student privacy and required that bathrooms, showers, and locker rooms in a school be separated based on an athlete's biological sex. There is also a sales tax deferral in the education bill for our municipalities and counties. I am pleased that additional funding was included on the per pupil formula which is controlled by your local school boards giving them more flexibility.
We passed six bills in total: the Education bill, the Agriculture and Environment Bill, the Jobs and Energy bill, a small bonding bill, the Legacy bill, and a technical corrections bill to make minor technical fixes to previous legislation.
Please email me with any comments or questions on these or any of the other bills that have passed. Reach me any time by email at email@example.com or call 651-296-4229.
Have a great weekend,
State Representative, District 18B