As you may have heard, the legislature met for a one day special session Friday and into the early morning hours Saturday to pass vetoed budget bills as well as the Legacy bill, a bonding bill, and a technical corrections bill. I was disappointed that Governor Dayton spurned bipartisan compromise by vetoing the budget bills, but am glad we were able to ultimately resolve our differences and get our budget passed.
Here are some highlights from the budget bills that passed:
-$525 million in increased funding and historic investments in early learning programs and scholarships that are proven to be effective in closing the achievement gap.
-Owatonna Public Schools will see a $368 per student increase in funding. Waseca Public Schools will see a $357 per pupil increase.
-This bill helps continue to balance school funding between Greater Minnesota and Metro-area schools. Greater Minnesota schools on average are getting $16 per pupil more than in the Metro.
-The bill includes important reforms to make it easier for qualified out-of-state teachers to come to Minnesota. This should help us continue to address our teacher shortage.
-Reductions in redundant and un-utilized state-mandated testing
Jobs and Energy
-Unemployment assistance for poultry workers impacted by avian flu and steelworkers impacted by layoffs on the Iron Range.
-Funding for broadband and workforce housing
-Job training to help train Minnesotans for highly skilled, better-paying job openings.
-Respects taxpayers by reducing spending overall
-A $50,000 grant to the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation for a Farm to Market program.
Environment and Agriculture
-Funding for agencies fighting avian flu
-Streamlining and reforming environmental regulations and red tape
-Reduces spending overall.
I was pleased that the bonding bill included $140 million for trunk highway bonds for roads and bridges, as well as additional funding for important specific projects around the state. It also included $4 million in funding for the Steele County Public Works Building in Owatonna.
Please email me with any comments or questions on these or any of the other bills that have passed. Reach me any time by email at email@example.com or call 651-296-5368.
Have a great weekend,
State Representative District 24A