Some updates from Saint Paul:
Town Hall Meeting Tuesday the 26th
Next Tuesday, March 26th I will be hosting a Town Hall meeting in Owatonna. I’m looking forward to giving a brief update on what’s been going on in Saint Paul so far this session, and most importantly hearing your thoughts and answering your questions. I hope you’ll be able to attend.
DATE: Tuesday, March 26th
3555 SW 18th Street
Owatonna, MN 55060
If you did not receive a paper copy in the mail this week, I hope you’ll go online and take my 2013 legislative survey. Your input helps me be a more effective legislator and better represent our community. I look forward to reading your responses. You can find the survey here.
Constituent and District Visits
Thanks to Dave Thul from Owatonna who visited as a part of Veterans Day on the Hill.
It was also great to meet with members of the Owatonna Chamber of Commerce, the MN Youth Council, and over 300 students who visited from Willow Creek School.
Last week I had a great time visiting Owatonna High School, as well as Medford Elementary School. Here is a photo from that visit:
Lastly, I wanted to share with you a guest column I submitted to our local newspapers about the bipartisan work being done at the Capitol.
Amidst budget disagreements, legislators working together on good legislation.
If you haven't been paying close attention to the first two months of session, it may seem like the only things going on at the Capitol are partisan squabbles over the budget.
Admittedly, I do have many concerns about the Governor's budget proposal. There are vast disagreements between the two parties about the best way to approach fixing the $627 million dollar budget gap. While that issue may dominate the headlines, I wanted to tell you about some of the good work that legislators from both sides have come together to work on.
Gun legislation is a hot-button topic that elicits strong reactions from both sides of the aisle. At the national level, little progress has been made on any substantive reforms that would decrease gun violence.
Here in Minnesota, however, Republicans and Democrats have come together on a bill that has over 70 co-sponsors. The bill helps improve data sharing between federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, cracks down on illegal gun purchases, and makes it even tougher for violent felons, criminals, and those deemed "criminally ill and dangerous" to purchase guns. The bill is chief authored by DFL Rep. Debra Hillstrom, and has the support of the NRA and a number of law enforcement leaders. I'm proud to be a co-author of the bill, and am hopeful we can get it passed this session.
Republicans and Democrats have come together on a number of other issues as well; earlier this session, lawmakers passed by a wide bipartisan margin a tax bill that brought Minnesota's tax code into conformity with the changes made for the 2012 tax year, ensuring that Minnesota families would not have to amend or wait to file their tax return in order to get all of the tax credits and deductions they rightfully earned.
On job creation, several DFL members have signed on to a Republican bill chief authored by freshman GOP Rep. Ron Kresha that aims to increase the number of Greater Minnesota businesses that take advantage of the angel investment tax credits available to small businesses. Currently, about 90% of the businesses who receive the tax credits are located in the Metro area, compared to just 10% for Greater Minnesota. If more businesses are aware and taking advantage of the available tax credits, it will mean more jobs for cities in Greater Minnesota, improving local economies across the state.
It's easy to forget sometimes that despite the flurry of partisan rhetoric, Republicans and Democrats are coming together every day to work on important issues that will improve our state.
My goal in coming to Saint Paul was, and continues to be to work together on legislation that will be good for our community, and good for the state of Minnesota regardless of whether the idea came from a Republican or a Democrat. I hope if you have one of those good ideas that you'll contact me. I always welcome your input and suggestions, and am here in Saint Paul to serve you.
Have a great week,
State Representative, District 24A