Here is an update from Saint Paul.
February Economic Forecast
On Tuesday, Minnesota Management and Budget released the February economic forecast, which legislators will use to craft a two-year state budget this session. For Fiscal Years 2018-19, Minnesota has a $1.65 billion surplus, up $250 million from November.
This year, with a significant surplus, I would like to craft a commonsense budget that invests in our shared priorities, limits state government growth and returns money to hardworking taxpayers who helped fund our surplus.
Expect the House to release committee budget targets in the coming weeks.
Last week, the House passed legislation that will allow our state to comply with federal Real ID requirements. The federal Real ID law, passed by Congress in 2005, makes it more difficult for terrorists to obtain fake identification and states must pass legislation to comply.
Without Real ID compliance legislation, beginning in January 2018, a Minnesota-issued driver’s license will no longer be a valid form of identification to fly commercially. House File 3 will also ensure that a Minnesota license can be used to enter federal facilities and military bases.
What’s more, it’s important to note that for people concerned about federal Real ID requirements, this bill provides for a two-track system, meaning people can choose whether or not to get a Real ID-compliant driver’s license.
This legislation is about ensuring that Minnesotans can continue to travel and visit their loved ones on military bases without undue difficulty.
Central Minnesota Sex Trafficking Task Force
Sex trafficking is a serious crime that hurts women, children and Minnesotans in our area. I introduced a bill this week to help combat this issue, appropriating $600,000 to the Stearns County Attorney’s office to coordinate and expand targeted law enforcement, prosecutorial and victim advocacy resources of the Central Minnesota Sex Trafficking Task Force.
This bill will also help quantify and generate more information on sex trafficking in a report that will be presented to the legislature.
You can read a recent St. Cloud Times article about my bill here.
House File 792
A bipartisan bill I am authoring that changes the definition of townhouse in the state building code from two or more attached units to three or more is continuing to move through the legislative process. It passed out of both the Jobs and Government Operations committees and is now headed to the General Register.
Around the Capitol
With SD 13 and 14 folks who spent the day with us at the Capitol on Monday, February 20th
This week, I met with folks from our area who were advocating for the arts at the Capitol. Thank you for coming to Saint Paul to share your priorities with me!
Also, I recently attended the Sanneh Foundation Gala for Goals Fundraiser. This was a fun event to support a great cause that helps a lot of kids in St. Cloud area schools.
If you have ideas, suggestions or concerns about legislation being debated in the House this session, I welcome you to contact my office. Your input is invaluable and helps me better represent the priorities of our community.
It’s an honor to be your voice at the Capitol. Have a wonderful weekend!