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

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Food shelf drive, St. Patrick's Day wishes and more

Friday, March 16, 2018

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Fellow State Rep. Marion O’Neill and me showing off the haul we helped raise at an area food drive today.

Greetings,

The Wright County Farm Bureau, Future Farmers of America members and local legislators conducted a drive to benefit food shelves throughout the county today at Cub Foods in Buffalo. The effort garnered 985 pounds of food, costing more than $1748. This was the sixth year I have participated in this event and I am proud to help the cause!

As for news from the Capitol this week, it was great to see so many people at the Capitol for this year’s Veterans Day on the Hill. There was a rally at the Capitol rotunda and numerous bills to assist veterans were heard in committees. The Legislature has been very successful in supporting veterans in recent years. Since just 2015 we have enacted laws to:

  • Exclude all military retirement pay from state income tax
  • Allow active duty military members and their families to bypass the one-year wait and immediately qualify for higher education grants and scholarships
  • Increase funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs and state veterans homes
  • Make it easier for veteran-owned small businesses to get state government contracts
  • Establish a Military Spouses and Families Day to honor Minnesota military families
  • Designate the Honor and Remember Flag as a symbol of the state’s commitment to fallen military members
  • Expand the Minnesota GI Bill to include apprenticeship and on-the-job training benefits

Health insurance is another top subject at the Capitol this year and the House this week unveiled a bill to reduce the MNsure tax from 3.5 percent to 2 percent. This would save Minnesotans an estimated $30 million. It also would increase options on the MNsure exchange by eliminating the active purchaser and seeks a waiver allowing those receiving tax credits to purchase insurance outside the MNsure exchange. This bill would be a step in the right direction to help people who are being swallowed up by soaring premium costs, so stay tuned.

On a final note, happy St. Patrick's Day to the people of O'District 29 as we celebrate the patron saint of Ireland who brought the gospel of Jesus to people of that country. Maple Lake’s 41st annual Grande Day Parade will take place at 1:30 p.m. Saturday as part of the city’s St. Patrick’s Day celebration and I hope you are able to come out and enjoy the festivities. As you can see in the above photo from last year, it’s a great time. Hope to see you there!

Regards,

Joe

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