Thanks to Brad Hennen of the Minnesota Pork Board (above) and people supporting the cause during Homeless Day on the Hill (below) for coming to the Capitol to talk about issues.
Hello from St. Paul and here is a rundown of this week’s headlines from the Capitol:
Funding to combat coronavirus
Earlier this week, the legislature voted unanimously in the House and Senate to approve emergency funding for the Department of Health to continue their response to the COVID-19 outbreak. The bill included protections for taxpayers that would require money to be paid back to the general fund if it goes unspent.
The legislature is considering additional steps to ensure our state and health care system can respond as quickly and effectively as possible — Minnesotans should have confidence that legislators, the governor, and state agencies are working closely based on the expert recommendations of the Minnesota Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control.
As this situation unfolds, social media could be rife with misinformation so please continue to rely only on information from trusted sources. Your best sources for up-to-date information are the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) websites.
House Republicans have unveiled a package of significant tax cuts for Minnesota families using the state’s $1.5 billion budget surplus.
The House Republican proposal benefits everyone from seniors to farmers, homeowners, Main Street businesses, college graduates with student loan debt, families with kids in childcare and beyond.
Our plan to eliminate the state tax on social security would be a huge help to senior citizens. It is shameful that our state has been an outlier in taxing social security, and it is time to put an end to that once and for all. We also must fix the Section 179 tax code problem that has left farmers and businesses with unexpected tax bills in the tens of thousands of dollars, and a solution for that is included in the package.
Here are some highlights:
Improving firearm zoning
A successful committee hearing took place this week to discuss a bill I have authored (H.F. 848) to eliminate the shotgun zone during the regular firearm season.
The objective of this bill is simply to allow people to add a few inches of barrel when they’re hunting. Rifles would increase ease of firearm use for youth compared with shotguns, something that is especially important as we look to entice younger generations of game enthusiasts. This bill also would simplify the rules by applying the same standards found elsewhere in our state to southern Minnesota.
Wisconsin made this change seven years ago and has good success with it, especially in the southwestern part of that state, where the topography is similar to the southeastern portion of Minnesota. The DNR supports this bill, which remains viable for passage later this session.
Until next time, have a good weekend and your input always is welcome.