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Legislative News and Views - Rep. John Petersburg (R)

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News from Representative Petersburg 01-09-2015

Friday, January 09, 2015

Dear Friends,

I hope you're having a good start to the New Year, and that you're avoiding any hassles with the snow storms, school closings, and blowing snow we've experienced over the past two days.

On Tuesday I was officially sworn in for my second term. I'm grateful to continue my work on your behalf, and look forward to what should be a productive legislative session.

We have concluded the first week of the 2015 session, and I wanted to send along to you a piece I wrote that will appear in our local papers next week about the bills introduced by House Republicans this week.

If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact me at rep.john.petersburg@house.mn, or by phone at 651-296-5368.

Have a great weekend,

John Petersburg

GOP priorities tackle key issues
Rep. John Petersburg, District 24A

One of the goals of the new House Republican Majority is to act as problem solvers, focusing on identifying problems and working to formulate real solutions that address those problems. That's why I was pleased to see the legislative priorities introduced by House Republicans focused on key issues that people in our communities care a great deal about; growing jobs, improving education, refocusing transportation dollars on roads and bridges, protecting and improving care for our seniors, and improving quality and access to affordable health care.

These priorities, which take the form of the first five bills introduced this session, will serve as the framework and beginning of a discussion with legislators of both sides on how to best to address these key areas.

I wanted to share some information about the first five bills, and encourage you to share your input as well. You can reach my office at rep.john.petersburg@house.mn or by phone at 651-296-5368.

Growing Jobs: House File 1 aims to grow jobs, especially in Greater Minnesota in the areas of manufacturing, high-tech, logging, and mining. It also provides a refundable tax credit to students who receive a degree in a science, technology, engineering, math (STEM), or long-term care field in areas where there is a need for skilled workers.

There are also provisions to expedite permitting, address the shortage of workforce housing in some parts of the state, and expand existing research and development tax credits.

Improving Education: Students in all parts of Minnesota deserve a world-class education. That starts with quality teachers, and giving schools the ability to keep and promote the best teachers in each district. House File 2 helps put good teachers in the classroom by strengthening teacher standards, and expands licensure options to allow teachers from other backgrounds ways to get their teaching licenses.

Caring for our seniors: Nursing and long-term care facilities struggle to retain talented individuals to care for Minnesota seniors and the disabled. House File 3 helps fix that problem by expanding loan forgiveness programs to certain health care professionals, and expands training scholarships to reimburse loan expenses for recently-graduated nurses and other health care professionals. House File 3 also creates a long-term care savings account, and provides a tax credit to help offset penalties for early withdrawals from retirement accounts to pay for long-term care costs.

Refocusing on roads and bridges: House File 4 invests $750 million in road and bridge construction over the next four years without one dollar in increased taxes. Roads and bridges should be our first priority before expensive Metro-area rail projects, and I will continue pushing for Highway 14 to be part of that discussion.

Health care access and affordability: House File 5 would push to allow Minnesotans to access tax credits regardless of where they purchase health insurance. Currently, eligible Minnesotans are unable to access credits unless they purchase health insurance through MNsure, Minnesota’s insurance exchange under the Affordable Care Act. This would increase flexibility for Minnesotans to decide what’s best for their family.