Things are picking up at the House as our attention has shifted to getting finance bills to the floor as we continue to work towards getting a two-year state budget passed before our May 18th adjournment.
House Passes Emergency Funding to Address Avian Flu Crisis
Turkey farms across the state have been devastated by the recent outbreak of avian flu. Fortunately, the outbreak has not affected farms in our district.
In an effort to prevent and respond to the avian influenza outbreak that has devastated Minnesota turkey flocks, the Minnesota House declared an urgency, suspending the rules on Thursday to take up legislation providing emergency funds to the Department of Agriculture and Board of Animal Health.
I am pleased we were able to act quickly to address the avian flu crisis in our state with emergency funds.
Omnibus Bills Begin to Move through Committee
Numerous committee omnibus bills have begun to take shape. Omnibus bills are large pieces of legislation, often times hundreds of pages long, that combine a number of smaller, related bills, into one package for passage by the body. I have a handful of bills included in a number of omnibus bills. While provisions in omnibus bills can indeed change before their final passage, I still want to fill you in on some of my bills that have been included.
The Legacy Committee omnibus bill contains a provision authored by me that would prohibit previous Legacy fund recipients from receiving additional money if the legislative auditor determines they violated any laws, rules or regulations related to the funding. This is a common sense measure that ensures that any group or entity that is receiving taxpayer funded Legacy dollars should comply with rules and regulations set forth by the Legislature.
Another bill that I chief authored has been included in the Public Safety and Crime Prevention Policy and Finance Committee's omnibus bill. This bill directs the Superintendent of the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension to conduct criminal background check requests submitted by tribal law enforcement agencies, here in Minnesota. The Superintendent would than recover the cost of each background check from the requesting tribal agency.
Additionally, the Environment and Natural Resources Policy and Finance omnibus bill includes a provision of mine that would provide an exception from the public waters work permit requirements of the DNR for county and town road improvement and maintenance projects. This allows for a streamlined process for repairs on city and county water repair projects which in the past may have taken longer due to a long and drawn out permitting process.
Included in the Property Tax Division report is a bill that I authored that gives townships the option to remove the township’s assessor and use the county's for property assessments. Currently, township boards can remove local assessors by vote. This bill will allow township residents to have a vote on the removal of a local assessor at a town’s annual meeting.
Lastly, House File 1495 has been included in the Transportation Finance and Policy omnibus bill which provides funding to recruit, hire, train, equip, and provide salary for additional State Patrol troopers.
This addresses issues the state is having in recruiting state troopers and is intended to boost numbers back to where they have been in years past as numerous troopers have recently retired.
There is one more bill that I would like to update you on that was not included in an omnibus bill but I am hopeful that it will be passed off the House floor as it has received unanimous bipartisan support in committee. House File 1935 requires medical examiners to notify a family of a planned autopsy and gives the family a basis to object on religious grounds.
I will have more updates on omnibus bills as we begin to take them up on the House floor next week.
As always, do not hesitate to contact me if you ever have a question or comment about a piece of legislation or a state agency. I can be reached by phone at 651-296-9918 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a great weekend,