Jennie-O Turkey Store announced on Tuesday that they will temporarily lay off 233 workers at the Faribault processing plant. Officials from Jennie-O indicated that the layoffs are in response to a low turkey supply due to the avian flu outbreak that is currently affecting numerous turkey producers across Minnesota.
Today’s news is a stark reminder of the devastation being caused by the avian flu outbreak here in Minnesota. I have been in contact with Jennie-O officials and have been assured that the layoffs should only be temporary. I encourage employees who are laid off to contact my office if they have any questions or concerns.
Employees affected by this layoff can also contact the Faribault Workforce Center for employment assistance, contact information is provided below:
Phone: (507) 333-2047
House Passes Farmer Based Finance Bill
The House passed the Omnibus Agriculture Finance bill on Monday. This bill funds agriculture and rural development programs for the next two years. I was pleased to see the bill pass with strong bipartisan support on a 110-18 vote.
The main focus of this year’s bill was to protect and preserve Minnesota’s food supply. Additionally, the legislation includes emergency funds to help turkey producers who are suffering from the current avian flu outbreak.
Finally, the legislation includes a provision that would create three production-based bioenergy grant programs administered by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) relating to advanced biofuel production, renewable chemical production, and biomass production.
Agriculture is a vitally important component of Minnesota’s economy and a way of life for our rural communities. This bill works to ensure that our agricultural industry remains strong and vibrant for years to come.
First Bill Passes House
My first piece of legislation was passed unanimously by the Minnesota House of Representatives on Wednesday, on a 128-0 vote. HF 1427 reduces the minimum number of meetings that the board of the District One Hospital District must hold to at least twice each year, instead of once a month.
On January 1, 2015 the District 1 Hospital began its transition to an Allina facility. During this transition, an oversight was made that required the board to meet monthly. Since the governance of the hospital was shifted to Allina, there was no longer a need to meet every month. This legislation allows the board to meet a minimum of two times a year—while also giving the board the flexibility to meet more frequently if needed.
I am thankful for my colleagues’ support of this bill that gives our local hospital board more flexibility. It is an honor to have my first bill passed by the House and I am proud that it will have a positive impact on our community.
2015 Survey Results
Thank you to everyone who took time to complete my legislative survey. Your input is valuable to me and I appreciate your feedback on issues that are being debated in St. Paul.
Here are the results:
Do you believe state funding for nursing homes and long-term care programs for seniors and for the disabled should be:
Kept the Same: 33%
Do you support a new 6.5% tax on gas at the wholesale level to fund road and bridge projects around the state?
What is the best approach for addressing the problems with the Obamacare exchange in Minnesota, MNSure?
It isn’t working, repeal it entirely: 48%
It can be fixed by enacting significant reforms: 22%
It’s working, keep as it currently is: 10%
Give Minnesotans more options outside of MNSure: 20%
The February forecast showed that Minnesota is projected to have a $1.9 billion surplus. What should the legislature do with that money?
Increase Spending: 11%
Return it to the taxpayers: 42%
Keep it in the reserves: 47%
From your perspective, what is the best way to grow jobs in Minnesota?
Increase state funding for construction projects across Minnesota: 8%
Pass tax relief and incentives to encourage business growth and job creation: 31%
Limit state spending to the amount of revenue taken in and slow government growth: 27%
Use surplus funds to offer income tax relief so taxpayers can keep more of their hard-earned money: 16%
Raise taxes and increase spending on state programs: 0%
Increase education funding and focus on workforce development: 15%
Currently, in tight budgeting times, school districts make layoff decisions based on teacher seniority. Some legislators are advocating for a reform that allows schools to also consider teacher effectiveness in those decisions. Do you support making this change?
Thank you for taking the time to read this week’s update. Please encourage your family, friends, or co-workers to sign up for my weekly email updates. They can sign up by visiting my official House page.
As always, do not hesitate to contact me to discuss any questions, comments, or concerns you may have regarding the legislature. I can be reached by phone at 651-296-8237 or via email at email@example.com. You can also stay connected with me by visiting my Facebook page and my Twitter account.