This year’s regular legislative session in St. Paul began at noon on Tuesday. We have approximately 11 weeks of session time before we reach the constitutionally mandated adjournment in late May.
This week I spent most of my time working with our revisor’s office on the details of bills that are being drafted for introduction. We also had a lot of organizations visiting this St. Paul to discuss items of concern. Thank you to the many individuals from the district that took the time to come to St. Paul this past week.
I had the opportunity to spend time with a large contingent of folks from the Brainerd and Cuyuna Area Chamber on Tuesday. The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce hosted an evening event that included an address by Governor Dayton followed by a panel discussion with the legislative leadership.
The panel included Sens. Gazelka, and Bakk, the respective majority and minority leaders in the Minnesota Senate, and Reps. Kurt Daudt and Melissa Hortman, speaker and minority leader in House of Representatives, respectively.
Reconciling Minnesota’s tax policy to accommodate the recent major changes to federal tax code was at the top of list, followed by passage of a capital investment bill. Both are items we discussed in last week’s update.
Wednesday the Minnesota Farm Bureau county presidents hosted a gathering of legislators to discuss rural Minnesota issues. Both Aitkin and Crow Wing County were well represented. We had the opportunity to hear ideas from across the state on a wide variety of issues.
Wednesday and Thursday the Minnesota Association of Township Officers were in town providing their insight on areas we need to work on. Typical of how hard our township officials work, they started their day on Thursday at 7 a.m. with a very productive working breakfast with legislators. We discussed a wide range of issues that townships deal with.
Thursday evening I was able to make the drive back to the district. It was a very slow but happily an uneventful drive during a very persistent snow storm.
Next week we will receive the semi-annual (February) state budget forecast. That will give us real numbers to work with as we move forward on reconciling state tax policy with the new federal policy.
Please be safe as we enjoy our winter wonderland!