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News from Rep. Dave Baker 04-24-2015

Friday, April 24, 2015
Dear Friends and Neighbors,

We are staying busy this week working to pass our omnibus budget bills. Passing our budget remains the biggest task in front of us for the last few weeks of session. As long as both parties come to the table and negotiate in good faith, I'm very confident we can show Minnesotans that shared government works and get our work done on time.

Some updates from this week:

Avian Flu
Avian flu was the topic at the front of my mind this week. Kandiyohi County is the county that has been hardest hit by this horrible epidemic. Farmers in our area are really hurting, and we've lost perhaps as much as half of our turkey population since the outbreak began. Governor Dayton declared a peacetime state of emergency yesterday, which will further assist in the response. I'm grateful for his attention and action on this crisis.

I visited the Poultry Testing Lab in Willmar yesterday to receive an update on the response, and was able to personally thank the talented individuals working around the clock to put a stop to this epidemic. Thanks to their work, and the work of the federal, state, and local health officials, our food supply remains safe, and transmission to humans is extremely unlikely.

Please keep our area farmers and those working to fight the avian flu in your thoughts & prayers. It's my hope that the House and Senate will be able to pass emergency funding to help aid our response in the coming days.

Transportation
The House passed our transportation bill on Tuesday. Our approach puts $7 billion into roads and bridges over the next 10 years, and is the only plan that includes funding for cities with fewer than 5,000 residents. Our plan invests in roads and bridges without a tax increase, an approach most constituents I've talked to agree is the best way to address our transportation needs.

Jobs & Energy Bill
On Wednesday, the House passed the omnibus Jobs & Energy bill with bipartisan support. As Vice Chair of the Job Growth & Energy Affordability Committee, it's a bill I've been working hard on. Two of the main bills included in the omnibus that I worked on:

-The Rural Propane Relief Act which will help boost supply and affordability of propane so there's a lower chance of a dramatic price spike in the winter months.

-A bill to help attract more workers for nursing homes and long-term care facilities

Please call or email me with your thoughts and questions.

Have a great weekend,

Dave Baker
State Representative, District 17B
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