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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Tama Theis (R)

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Capitol Update from Rep. Tama Theis

Monday, June 15, 2015

Dear Neighbors,

After weeks of negotiations, Governor Mark Dayton finally agreed to call a special session which was held last Friday, June 12. While I am disappointed that the governor vetoed three of our bipartisan budget bills last month and forced us into a special session, I am pleased that we were able to come to an agreement and finish our work because it's what Minnesotans expect us to do. Not only that, but with these final bills signed into law, we prevent 9400 state employees from losing their jobs, ensure funding for vital programs in our state and implement real government reforms that protect hardworking taxpayers.

During Friday's special session, we debated and repassed five major bills: education, environment and agriculture, jobs and energy, legacy and capital investment.

Here are some highlights of those bills:


  • $525 million in new spending for our schools (up from $400 million in the vetoed bill)
  • A 2 percent increase to the per pupil formula for 2016 and 2017, giving school districts the ability to spend that money where they need it most
  • $95 million more for early learning initiatives including targeted early learning scholarships, school readiness aid and Head Start

Agriculture and Environment

  • Provides $23 million to state agencies to respond to the avian flu outbreak which has devastated turkey farms across the state
  • Increases funding for Soil and Water Conservation Districts to help keep local control over local projects
  • Reforms to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and DNR along with funding for those agencies

Jobs and Energy

  • $10.6 million for broadband grants
  • $1.8 million for job training grants
  • Requires legislative oversight of President Obama's Clean Power Plan
  • Special unemployment insurance for people laid off due to the avian flu outbreak
  • Spends $24 million less than last biennium


  • Funded by the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment passed by Minnesota voters in 2008
  • Includes reforms to protect taxpayers and ensure fiscal responsibility, preventing funds from being renewed for projects if the Office of the Legislative Auditor finds funds were not used appropriately
  • Improves water quality standards by developing lake and stream clean up and protection plans

Capital Investment

  • $27 million for two facilities that will help Minnesota respond to avian flu and other animal diseases
  • $33 million for State Capitol renovations
  • $32 million for transportation projects
  • $23 million for flood prevention and disaster relief

The legislature is not scheduled to meet again until next year. With hundreds of millions left unspent for next year, look for transportation and tax relief to be two major issues in the House.

As always, I welcome your input on legislation and want to hear more about issues important to you. Please don’t hesitate to schedule a meeting, call my office or send me an email. I am here to serve you!

It’s an honor to be your voice at the Capitol.

Enjoy your summer!