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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Duane Quam (R)

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News from Rep. Quam (4-17-15)

Friday, April 17, 2015

Hello from the State Capitol,

It has been another busy week at the State Capitol as committees have been working hard to get omnibus finance bills onto the House floor.

Public Safety Committee Passes Omnibus Bill

On Tuesday, the Public Safety and Crime Prevention Policy and Finance committee passed its omnibus bill. As a member of this committee, I was pleased to see one of my bills, House File 1232 included in this year’s omnibus bill.

HF 1232 amends provisions related to sex trafficking in a number of different areas including: data privacy, predatory offender registration, evidence, crime victim identity protection, and affirmative defenses and limitations periods.

By doing this, we are able to strengthen penalties and expand eligibility for predators to be charged with a crime and punished by law while working to protect sex trafficking victims’ identities.

The Public Safety omnibus bill now heads to the Ways and Means Committee and from there to the House floor.

Provision Included in Property Tax Division Report

On Wednesday, the House Property Tax and Local Government Finance Division passed its division report which will head to taxes to be included in the Taxes Committee’s omnibus bill. Included in the Division’s report was House File 287. HF 287, which I chief authored, modifies the qualification process for agricultural homestead.

My bill would allow for individuals who have farmed their land for 10 or more years to not have to qualify annually as being a farmer, and as long as the property they live on is less than four townships away, to still have their original property classified as an agricultural homestead. Their original property, which in this case they would still own, can remain an agricultural homestead as long as it is still being farmed.

I also have a bill included in the report would free up more than $80 million over the biennium by capping a portion of local government aid (LGA) funding to large cities such as Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Duluth.

Frankly, the premise behind LGA is to assist smaller cities, who do not have the tax capacity to generate adequate revenue, to fund basic infrastructure and services offered by the community.

This bill addresses the problem facing the LGA program that sees large cities like Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Duluth receiving so much more LGA funding in actual dollars and compared to the state average per capita.

Bill Included in Education Finance Omnibus Bill

House File 1712 was included in the Education Finance omnibus bill. HF 1712 requires the commissioner of education to work with the Minnesota School Safety Center to ensure that school crisis response teams are available to school districts in every region of the state.

This bill looks to ensure that crisis response teams are readily available to school districts throughout the state to be able to assist students and staff if a crisis were to take place.

Oftentimes, school districts will bring in counselors and other professionals to assist grieving students and staff if a student were to pass away in a car accident or in light of another tragedy. This bill will establish crisis response teams that would be in all regions of the state to ensure that school districts would have professionals available in the unfortunate event that a tragedy would occur.

Commission Meetings

On Tuesday, I served as co-chair of the Joint House-Senate Subcommittee on Claims. This subcommittee hears and recommends to the legislature whether or not to pay claims against the state by various persons who cannot proceed against the state under the State Tort Claims Act.

Additionally, on Friday, the Legislative Audit Commission held a hearing to select the 2015 evaluation topics. As a member of the Legislative Audit Commission, my colleagues and I play an integral role in selecting topics for the Program Evaluation Division to review.

The final six topics selected for evaluation by the Legislative Auditor are:

  • Deer Population Management

  • Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board (IRRRB)

  • Mental Health Services in County Jails

  • Minnesota Board of Teaching

  • Minnesota Department of Health HMO Complaint Process

  • MnDOT Project Selection

A seventh topic, Agricultural Utilization Research Institute, will also be evaluated if time permits.

Staying in Touch

As always, please do not hesitate to contact me if you ever have questions, concerns, or comments on any number of issues related to the legislature. I can be reached by phone at 651-296-9236 or via email at