It was another busy week in St. Paul with the third and final committee deadline on Friday. Given this, much of our time this week was spent in committee working on and putting the final touches on omnibus finance bills.
Our finance bills look to build on the successes of last year's session that saw historic tax reform and a major investment in rebuilding our roads and bridges.
A top priority remains simplifying our tax code to ensure that Minnesotans see the full benefits of the federal tax bill.
With state government fully funded from last year’s two-year budget, additional investments focus on common-sense issues like fixing roads and bridges and improving student safety.
On Monday, the House approved legislation that would prevent the Minnesota Department of Agriculture from adopting rules, or “water resource protection requirements,” for nitrogen fertilizers unless the proposed rules are approved by the Legislature.
The legislation passed the House on a bipartisan 69-56 vote.
The need for this legislation has nothing to do with the science regarding nitrates and drinking water. Everyone, myself included, wants to ensure that our drinking water is safe for future generations of Minnesotans. Instead, this legislation is focused on the rulemaking process.
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture proposed this rule late enough that the Legislature did not have time to properly vet the proposal. In addition, farm groups also felt that they were not included in discussions regarding the rule.
Simply put, the Dayton Administration needs to include all interested parties in talks and the decision-making process. This legislation is an important step in improving that process.
This year’s State Government Finance omnibus bill includes funding for three critically-needed veterans homes across Minnesota. Using excess funds from the Vikings Stadium Reserve Account, the bill funds veterans homes in Preston, Bemidji, and Montevideo.
As a strong supporter of our veterans, I am excited about the possibilities that three new homes would have for aging veterans. They have given and sacrificed so much for our nation, it only makes sense that we do what we can to care for them as they grow older.
With financial backing from the state and local communities, the federal government will cover 65 percent of the veterans homes’ cost.
The Vikings stadium reserve used to fund the veterans homes currently has an excess balance of $58 million. The reserve is expected to grow to $120 million by the end of fiscal year 2021.
This is exciting news for our vets and I hope the governor will support this legislation.
That’s all for this week’s update. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me to share any thoughts or concerns you may have about state government or the job I'm doing as your representative. It would be great to talk with you. I can be reached by phone at 651-296-8237 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks and have a great weekend,