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Legislative update (3-1-18)

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Neighbors,

People in District 2B have asked me to keep them posted when there is news regarding bills that threaten to undermine our Second Amendment rights. We have a pair of such bills to report on today following hearings for them in the House Public Safety Committee.

First, the good news: The Republican-led committee did not allow either bill to move forward in the legislative process. I repeat, these bills did not receive approval in any way, shape or form during today’s committee meeting, where House members and public testifiers gave both of the bills intense scrutiny.

Both proposals are authored by St. Paul Democrat Rep. Dave Pinto and I strongly oppose them. One bill, H.F. 1669, would require criminal background checks for all gun sales (including private transfers). The other, H.F. 1605, would allow for gun violence protective orders. Click on the bill numbers for complete details on each proposal.

Each bill was discussed and then set aside. In my opinion they should remain on the shelf, but we need to stay vigilant because the Democrats may resort to whatever means necessary to press their agenda.

In other news, Minnesota Management & Budget came out with its February economic forecast this week, one of two complete reports we receive each year. This week’s report shows a $329 million revenue surplus for the biennium ending in June of 2019. That reflects a $518 million improvement on the bottom line since the November forecast, the greatest three-month turnaround in 20 years. The estimate for the 2020-21 biennium is even brighter, growing from a $337 million shortfall to a $313 million surplus – a $650 million turnaround.

This all shows the policies we have enacted in Minnesota in recent years are producing results. For example, the historic tax reform we passed last year is a key factor in driving growth, despite the fear mongering from naysayers who said allowing taxpayers to keep more of their hard-earned money would bankrupt the state.

There will be important discussions this session regarding what should be done with the over-collection in taxes. Our focus should be on using it to conform with the recent federal tax overhaul.

Look for more news soon. The bill (H.F. 2815) I have authored to criminalize misrepresenting an animal as a service animal is gaining momentum so I will keep you posted with any developments on that and other issues.

-Steve

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