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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Cal Bahr (R)

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Legislative Update from Rep. Bahr

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Dear Neighbors,

The Legislature started its work on January 8, 2019, and already it has been a busy session.

Last week, the Annual March for Life rally and the Gun Owners Caucus Day at the Capitol brought many citizens to the Capitol.  I enjoyed meeting supporters of those two groups from my district.

So far this session, I have put my name on two bills as the chief author and have signed on to support several others. 

I have introduced a bill to direct the Legislative Auditor to study the costs of refugee resettlement in Minnesota.  This is a very controversial topic and there is a need to inject some facts into the discussion.  Right now, the costs to the state are hidden in many different programs, agencies, and departments.  These need to see the light of day.

I have also chief authored a repeal of the “Snowbate” tax credit for Hollywood producers to make movies in Minnesota.  This is just one example of a special interest tax break. 

I have also co-authored bills that

  • Preserve our 2nd amendment rights, and expanding our right in Minnesota to carry without a permit unless otherwise barred from doing so.
  • Freeze taxable value of property for seniors, helping them to keep them in their homes.  (Property rights of individuals is a key interest of mine and I am co-authoring several bills that protect property rights in various ways)  
  • Establish an individual’s right not to join a union or join one as they see fit, and an employer’s right to hire union or non-union workers, not forced by the hand of government. 
  • Remove the state tax on Social Security payments. The Federal Government taxes it and we can't do anything about that but at least we can join the majority of other states that do not tax Social Security. 

Most of my work during the first months of the session will take place in House committees. For the 2019-2020 legislative biennium, I have been assigned the following committees: Education Policy, Greater Minnesota Jobs and Economic Development Finance Division and Judiciary Finance and Civil Law Division.  In these committees, I am able to follow some of the issues that matter most to our district such as the childcare shortage, growing jobs and helping small and medium businesses thrive in our state.  High taxes and regulation are causing many businesses to flee our state, and I am doing what I can to stop that.

The legislative process can seem complicated, but there are some useful tools online to help understand and follow it:

  • Minnesota House of Representatives –This is the main site of the Minnesota House with links to committee schedules, bills and more.
  • Session Daily -A nonpartisan publication of Minnesota House of Representatives Public Information Services which a daily and weekly summary of what happened at the legislature during session.
  • New laws -Compiled by the Minnesota House of Representatives Public Information Services.
  • TV coverage -Coverage is broadcast statewide – along with Minnesota Senate television coverage – on our local PBS station’s digital Minnesota Channel available on many cable systems and is free on over-the-air channels.
  • Streaming video -Live Internet video streaming of more legislative hearings and floor activities that could not make the TV channels due to timing.
  • How a bill becomes law -A 16-page booklet explaining, in a simple, straightforward manner, how a bill moves from an idea to law. Capitol Steps is intended as a resource for junior high school students.
  • Twitter -Follow the Twitter account @MNHouseInfo to see nonpartisan news and other information from the Legislature.

I hope you will continue to follow the legislature for the next three months while it is in session and contact me when you want me to know your thoughts on an issue or if you have a problem you think I or our constituent service and research team could help with.  We all work for you.  Luke, Margaret, and Andy have already helped a few of my constituents this session.  If you are coming to the capitol, please do call us ahead of time so that we can clear my schedule for a visit.  As the session moves along, this update will be more specific as to what has happened at the capitol.