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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Chris Swedzinski (R)

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Legislative Update (5-1-15)

Friday, May 1, 2015

Dear Neighbors,

It was a full week at the Capitol as more omnibus finance and policy bills were heard and approved by the House. We are down to the final weeks of session as the Legislature is constitutionally required to adjourn by May 18th. Here is a recap of some of the bills that were passed this week.

Drake’s Law Included in Passage of House Public Safety Bill

The House approved the Public Safety and Crime Prevention Policy and Finance bill, which funds judiciary and public safety priorities over the next two years, on Tuesday.

Included in the bill is a provision I authored that enhances the penalty for criminal vehicular homicide when a person has certain prior driving related convictions, and enhances the penalty for reckless driving that causes great bodily harm or death to another.

This bill is also known as Drake’s Law in honor of Drake Bigler, the five month old son of Brad and Heather Bigler, who was tragically killed in a drunk driving accident in 2012.

I am hopeful that this provision will remain in the bill after it heads to conference committee and will keep you up-to-date when there is more news to pass along.

Tax Relief for Minnesotans

On Wednesday, the House approved our Omnibus Tax bill. This bill brings nearly $2 billion in tax relief to Minnesotans.

Here are some highlights from the bill:

  • 2,045,000 Minnesotans could receive relief through a NEW state version of the personal or dependent exemption on tax returns equal to 25 percent of the federal exemption.
  • 366,500 aging adults living on fixed income could receive relief from the phasing-out of the tax on social security.
  • 240,000 farmers could receive relief through a property tax credit that reduces their disproportionate share of school district debt service.
  • 130,000 families with pre-kindergarteners could receive relief through the expansion of the education deduction to include pre-kindergarten expenses.
  • 109,500 college students could receive student loan debt relief through a NEW tax credit for principal and interest loan payments on student loans.
This bill proves that we can invest in things that matter most to Minnesotans like roads and bridges and education while still offering substantial tax relief.


Supporting our Rural Nursing Homes

Early Wednesday morning, the House passed the Health and Human Services omnibus bill. This bill offers numerous reforms that will save taxpayers money, increase access to mental health, and ensure that health care in Minnesota continues to be among the best in the nation.

Additionally, our bill makes serious investments in nursing homes in Rural Minnesota by investing $138 million in our nursing homes, increasing their funding and helping to raise the wages of their hardworking employees. Here is how nursing homes in District 16A would fare under our bill. The following totals represent the annual change in Medicaid and estimated private revenue for the 2016 rate year if the Governor signs our bill into law:

  • Madison – Madison Lutheran Home: $1,201,809
  • Dawson – Johnson Memorial Hospital & Home: $1,570,068

  • Minneota – Minneota Manor HCC: $831,746

  • Marshall – Avera Marshall Regional Medical Center: $805,279

  • Clarkfield – Clarkfield Care Center: $489,472

  • Canby – Sanford Canby Medical Center: $1,535,352

  • Granite Falls – Municipal Hospital & Granite Manor: $884,462

Also included in this bill is a 5% cost of living adjustment for home and community based care workers.

Staying in Touch

If you have friends or family who would be interested in receiving my weekly email update, please direct them to sign up by clicking here.

I welcome the opportunity to speak with about your ideas on how we can make state government work better. I can be reached by phone at 651-296-5374 or via email at


Have a great weekend,