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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Brian Johnson (R)

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Legislative Update

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

On Monday, the legislature ended the 2015 legislative session, passing a bipartisan $41.5 billion budget that will fund all areas of state government over the next two years. We accomplished a number of great things this session including investing in education, prioritizing aging Minnesotans, protecting folks from unnecessary tax increases and keeping state spending in line with your family's budget.

With a DFL-led Senate and a GOP-led House, we had to work together and compromise to pass budget bills out of the legislature. While no one got everything they wanted, I believe our budget is a positive step forward for Minnesota.

First, we invested $400 million more into education and put a new emphasis on our littlest learners with significant investments in early learning scholarships and school readiness aid.

Additionally, we also made a $138 million investment into our nursing homes, improving seniors' quality of life and their quality of care. This will also help increase the wages for the hardworking caregivers working in this field.

Third, although we were not able to pass a large, long-term transportation package due to the insistence of the Senate DFL on a regressive gas tax, we still were able to pass a smaller transportation bill that includes a $12.5 million investment for road repair in small cities statewide.  There is also funding in our budget to help alleviate traffic congestion for the city of Cambridge along the Highway 95 Corridor.

Last, we made new investments in child protection services including my bill which puts $800,000 into child advocacy centers. This program is supported by Isanti County Sheriff Chris Caulk and Chief Deputy Lisa Lovering.

Overall, I am proud of the budget we passed this session. We stopped an unpopular gas tax, invested in our kids and prioritized the needs of Greater Minnesota.

It's unfortunate that Governor Dayton has recently stated he is going to veto our bipartisan education bill and send the legislature into special session over his determination to implement universal pre-k. I will keep you updated on this issue as well as what budget bills are signed into law.

As always, if you have any questions or comments on legislative issues, I welcome you to contact my office.

Have a wonderful week.