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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Nels Pierson (R)

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Legislative Update (March 30, 2018)

Friday, March 30, 2018

Dear Neighbors,

Today begins a week-long break at the legislature as we take time off next week to celebrate the Easter and Passover holidays.  I hope you are able to spend some time with your loved ones, and I wish you and your family a very happy holiday.

This week was the second deadline week at the legislature.  In order for a policy bill to continue going through the legislative process and ultimately have a chance to become law, it must be approved by committees in both the House and the Senate by the second deadline.  This made for another busy week of committee hearings and many late nights at the Capitol.

Once legislators return from break, we’ll have a clearer picture of the eventual outcome of legislation on some of the major issues, as well as the outcome of some of the bills I am working on personally. 

Bonding Bill

Among the issues the legislature will be addressing during the remainder of session will be statewide bonding projects.  Like last year’s, any bonding bill we pass this year will be geographically balanced and focused heavily on local infrastructure and transportation projects.  A proposal to expand Wabasha’s National Eagle Center is an exciting bill that I will be pushing for in this year’s bonding bill. Southeastern Minnesota’s beautiful environment offers unique tourism opportunities and making improvements to the National Eagle Center is an important part of ensuring its local economies continue to thrive.  The National Eagle Center is also home to a spectacular 20,000 item collection of bald eagle-themed artwork that it received through a donation a few years ago.  The expansion will allow the world-class display to be moved out of storage and made more available to visitors.

Federal Tax Conformity

Another matter that will be at the forefront is federal tax conformity.  The House tax committee has held numerous hearings and done extensive research in order to determine the best plan to conform to the recently changed federal tax code.  As we unveil our tax conformity proposal after the break, we will focus on avoiding a tax increase for Minnesotans as well as preventing headaches for filers next spring.

School Safety Package

Yesterday, House Republicans unveiled a legislative package designed to protect our schools and students. The proposal includes resources for the hiring of more school resource officers, student counselors and mental health professionals, in addition to making vital building security upgrades.

The following bills are currently advancing through the committee process and will be included in a larger proposal:

  • School resource officers, student support personnel, and other school security programs funded through increased Safe Schools revenue, including a floor level of funding for small schools
  • School building security upgrades, and expanded use of Long-Term Facility Maintenance revenue for security projects, including emergency communications systems
  • School-linked mental health programming to ensure better outcomes for all kids
  • Physical security audit grants to provide state assistance to review facility security and crisis management policies
  • Suicide prevention training for teachers to help educators learn how to engage and assist students experiencing mental distress
  • School-based threat assessment teams established to assess, intervene, and report threats facing students, teachers, and staff

In my conversations with students, parents, teachers, and school administrators, it has become clear that school safety is a priority for everyone.  As legislators, we owe it to our children to pass meaningful legislation to secure our schools and stop school violence.  These bills have a broad, bipartisan backing, and I look forward to continuing to support them.

Enjoyed meeting with a group of teachers from Rochester this week to discuss issues in education.

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Medical Assistance Work Requirement Legislation

Earlier this week, the House Health and Human Services Finance committee approved legislation to require all able-bodied adults currently on Medical Assistance to be working, seeking employment, or completing a job training program.  The bill includes exceptions for single parents with children to care for, people with disabilities, certain medical conditions, addictions, or other barriers to employment. 

Minnesota has a strong economy with more jobs than workers to fill them, and the requirements in this legislation are nearly identical to those required for federal public assistance programs.  I think this bill is a commonsense approach that would allow greater resources to be used for individuals who are unable to work and desperately need these services, as well as other important budget areas.  It will help lift more people out of poverty and off public welfare programs, in addition to giving them the skills they need to be successful in our economy.

Please Contact Me

I would like to encourage you to contact me with any questions or thoughts on any state government issues you may have. Consistently hearing from constituents on the everyday issues they are facing is essential to representing our communities. My door is always open, so if you plan on visiting, please contact me to set up a time for us to sit down and chat. I can be reached at 651-296-4378 or

Have a great weekend.


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