The 2019 legislative session came to a close last Saturday with the completion of a one-day special session. While I am disappointed it took a special session to complete our work, I am relieved that many of the tax increases that were proposed by House Democrats and Governor Walz did not become law this year.
This includes the defeat of not only the proposed 70% gas tax increase, but a number of other excessive taxes as well.
Despite this generally positive news, I was very troubled with the general lack of transparency surrounding the end of this year’s session with far too many decisions made by three individuals, behind closed doors.
In fact, in some cases, entire budget bills were decided entirely behind closed doors by the Governor, House Speaker, and Senate Majority Leader, without a single provision adopted in public prior to passage.
That is not the way the legislature is supposed to work and I will be pushing for improved transparency and accountability next year and into the future.
Fighting the Opioid Epidemic
Since taking office in 2015, I have focused a lot of time and energy on finding solutions to combat the opioid crisis. Thousands of families across Minnesota have been impacted by this terrible epidemic and it’s been clear for some time that a robust, public health response is needed.
This session, the House and Senate reached a bipartisan, compromise agreement on nation-leading legislation that addresses the opioid epidemic here in Minnesota.
Thanks to this legislation, which has been signed into law by Governor Walz, we will be able to invest in prevention strategies to reduce the number of senseless deaths and overdoses.
Finding a solution to this problem has always been about doing what was right for the hundreds and thousands of families across this state that have lost a loved one to addiction. Thanks to the hard work and determination from advocates, survivors, and families, Minnesota has emerged as a national leader in the fight against opioid addiction. Our work on this bill shows that good, bipartisan work can still take place in St. Paul.
Local Option Sales Tax
Included in the Tax Omnibus bill was language authorizing Willmar’s local option sales tax that was overwhelmingly approved by voters in November. The local option sales tax will help finance a number of projects including a new community center, improvements at Swansson Field and Robbins Island, and a stormwater management project.
Staying in Touch
While the 2019 legislative session may be over, my job as your representative does not end. Please continue to reach out to me to share any questions and concerns regarding state government. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can call 651-296-6206.
Have a good weekend,