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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Joe McDonald (R)

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Update from the House

Friday, February 24, 2017

House Image

My son, Aiden, and his friend, Roman Ostrovsky (left), spent President's Day with me at the Capitol on Monday.

Greetings,

On Thursday, the House approved legislation which would allow Minnesotans to obtain an ID which complies with increased federal standards for such purposes as boarding commercial flights.

Without a change in state law, Minnesota driver’s licenses will no longer be acceptable for boarding planes as soon as January of 2018. Minnesota is one of only a few states which remains out of compliance with the new standards.

The House’s proposal (H.F. 3) features a two-tiered approach which allows people who want a Real ID to receive one, while also providing citizens the ability to continue using their standard ID.

As a strong advocate of states’ rights, I reject the federal government’s overreach on this issue. Thankfully, we found a solution which allows people to gain compliance with Real ID while also providing people a path to non-participation if they would rather continue using the standard ID we have today.

It all comes down to making the best of a bad hand dealt to us by the federal government. We looked for ways around this and were hopeful the new presidential administration would change our course on this issue but, unfortunately, that ship has sailed. We are left to do the best we can with the hand we were dealt. This bill lets us do that.

The Senate version of the bill (S.F. 166) is making its way through the committee process.

On Monday, the House passed legislation that would legalize the sale of liquor, beer, and wine on Sundays. It was the first time in state history that standalone legislation on this issue has been voted on or approved.

Hours of operation need to be reconciled before the bill is sent to the governor for enactment. The House proposal is 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., while the Senate is 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The change in law would occur July 1, just in time for Delano’s world-class Independence Day celebration.

Sunday Liquor Sales has been a perennial issue at the legislature, but has gained momentum in recent years. In 2013, the provision earned just 21 "yes" votes, increasing each year until its successful passage this week.

I see and understand both sides of this issue and actually have voted both ways over my seven years in the House. It once again was a difficult decision to make, yet the overwhelming feedback I have received from people in our district is that it is time to end the Sunday sales prohibition. I voted in line with district constituents and the bill passed with broad, bipartisan support, 85-45. The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration.

Have a good weekend and look for more news from the Capitol soon.

Regards,

Joe

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