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Rep. Eric Lucero (30B) - April 8 Legislative Update

Friday, April 8, 2016

Several colleague legislators and I joined members of the Minnesota Association of Christian Schools (MACS) this week for prayer and breakfast!

Dear Neighbor,

When I began drafting this week’s email update large snowflakes were coming down outside and accumulating on the ground!  Looking at the forecast however I expect the accumulated snow will be melted by evening and certainly by tomorrow.  The close of this week marks the end of Week 5 of the legislative session.  I’ve included several highlights this week from the Capitol.

The State of Minnesota operates on a two-year budget cycle.  Traditionally odd-numbered years, such as 2015, are the finance years to pass bills funding all state government agencies and departments for the next two years and even-numbered years, such as 2016, are the bonding years to pass a bonding bill borrowing money for infrastructure projects around the state.

The House Republican majority yesterday released our spending priorities/targets we seek to pass prior to the May 23 constitutional deadline to adjourn.  The House Republican focus for this bonding year is to keep government spending in line with budgets of hard working Minnesota families and businesses.  Because state government is fully funded with the budget bills passed last year the House Republican spending targets include a net-zero increase for any supplemental budget bills (meaning for every new dollar spent there must be a dollar cut in another area of the budget). A net zero spending increase means the state's current $900 million surplus can be used for other priorities such as tax cuts and roads and bridges transportation funding.

The Republican transportation plan spends $7 billion on roads and bridges over the next 10 years with zero gas tax increase and would repair or replace more than 15,500 lane miles of road and 330 bridges statewide.

Proposals in the Republican tax cut bill include phasing out the income tax on social security benefits and military pay, tax credits for families saving for college and students paying off their loans, expanded deductions for families with school-aged children, and property tax relief for farmers and small businesses.

The Republican proposals listed above is in stark contrast to the proposals Gov. Mark Dayton is demanding which includes approximately $7 in spending increases for every $1 in tax relief and spends most of the state's surplus.

Recently North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory signed into law a requirement to use bathrooms/locker rooms matching one’s biological sex in order to keep men out of women's bathrooms/showers and Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant signed into law the “Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act” in recognition of the need to ensure protection of religious liberty.  In response, Gov. Dayton this week once again demonstrated his extremist views by enacting a ban on all non-essential state business travel to North Carolina and Mississippi.  Gov. Dayton’s travel ban demonstrates his intolerance toward religious liberty and callous disregard for the physical safety and privacy concerns of children and women.

Gov. Dayton’s travel ban raises two important questions:
1.)    Will Gov. Dayton also ban state employees from non-essential state business travel to other states and/or any of the many countries around the world with terrible human rights records?
2.)    Because Gov. Dayton appears to admit non-essential travel occurs on the taxpayer’s dime, how many taxpayer dollars are squandered annually due to non-essential travel?

In last week's email update I mentioned a bill (HF 2865) which seeks to withhold $14 million in future university funding unless the university establishes a fetal tissue research center to oversee the university’s use of fetal tissue for research to ensure only tissue from babies that have died from natural causes is purchased as well as other ethical standards.

HF 2865 received its second House committee hearing this week in the Higher Education Committee. I am proud to be a co-author of the bill and I pray for its continued progress.

I hope you and your family have a great weekend!

Rep. Eric Lucero
State Representative
District 30B
Albertville, Hanover, Otsego, Saint Michael, and the Wright County portion of Dayton

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