I hope you enjoy your Memorial Day Weekend, as we pay tribute to the brave men and women who lost their lives in service to our nation.
Here is an update with the latest news from the Capitol.
2017 Session Concludes
The 2017 legislative session concluded this week with the House and Senate sending compromise budget bills to Governor Dayton which will fund state government and our priorities over the next two years. With a divided government, I am glad we were able to reach a bipartisan agreement, and I think there is a lot of great things for our community and state in these budget bills.
First, House Republicans were a strong voice for meaningful, middle-class tax relief and we passed the largest tax cut for Minnesota in nearly two decades. The more than $650 million in tax relief will help families, seniors on social security, farmers, businesses and college graduates with student loan debt.
Additionally, our transportation package this year was the largest investment in road and bridge infrastructure in our state’s history without a harmful gas tax or license tab fee increase. This is great news as we work to improve our transportation infrastructure, reduce congestion and improve transportation safety.
For our students and schools, we increased education funding by $1.35 billion over the current biennium. With a 2 percent increase on the per pupil formula each year, we are able to put more money into every classroom. What’s more, House Republicans pushed for comprehensive teacher licensure reform to help our schools attract and retain world-class educators and tackle our state’s teacher shortage. With the repeal of “last in, first out” in state statute, we are also able to ensure that our schools can keep the best educators in the classroom, and can take into account more than just seniority when making difficult staff retention decisions.
The Legislature and governor also agreed on a $995 million bonding bill that includes important local projects for our community. $18 million in funding for renovations at St. Cloud State University was included in the bill, along with $19 million for the second phase of the new intake health services and loading dock for our prison. Additionally, I sponsored legislation also included in the bonding bill to require the use of audio-induction loops in certain state-funded capital projects to improve sound for people using hearing aids or with cochlear implants.
From early action this year on meaningful health care reforms to passing a comprehensive state budget that funds our shared priorities and provides meaningful tax relief, I think that overall, this was a productive and positive session for the people of Minnesota.
Around the Capitol
Chatting with students from St. Mary Help of Christians School at the Capitol this week.
It’s an honor to be your voice at the Capitol. Have a wonderful weekend!