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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Erin Koegel (DFL)

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Legislative Update - April 27, 2017

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Dear Neighbors,

I want to thank everyone who took time out of their weekend to join Sen. Newton and me at our Coffee and Conversation this past Sunday. It was great to hear what’s on the minds of constituents and answer questions about what’s happening at the Legislature.

At the Capitol, Conference Committees are deliberating differences between House and Senate versions of the major budget bills including education, health and human services, public safety and others. Once these agreements are made, Governor Dayton, who released his own proposed budget earlier this session, will be able to weigh in. If you would like to learn which members are serving on the conference committees and follow their progress, click here.

A crucial item which hasn’t moved forward yet this session is the bonding bill, which funds infrastructure investments throughout the state. There are state assets all over Minnesota in need of upgrades and improvement, including at our colleges and universities, failing bridges, wastewater infrastructure and more. A bonding bill is unique in that it requires a 3/5 supermajority to pass. Unfortunately, the House Republican Majority has yet to propose such a bill.

Here in our community, we have infrastructure needs that continue to go unmet without a bonding bill. The rail crossings at Hanson Blvd. and Foley Blvd. are among some of the most dangerous in the state; I’m working to get construction funded for grade separations. Congestion on Highway 65 continues to frustrate families and businesses, and it’s time to move forward with projects which relieve this. The National Sports Center is in need of some safety improvements, too. Every day that we wait, these projects become more expensive. Interest rates are low right now, but it’s uncertain how long these will last.

I’m concerned that by waiting so long, the House Republicans are looking to use a bonding bill as a bargaining chip for the end of session. You may recall that last year, they waited until the last minute to release a bill leading to a chaotic end of session. Moving forward in this manner is irresponsible, and I hope we can avoid a repeat of this. My DFL colleagues and I will keep pushing for a bonding bill to be put on the table soon so that the public can provide input, and we can get this passed ensuring our infrastructure needs are met.

As we head into these final weeks of the session, I hope you will stay in touch with your viewpoints. Please email me or call me anytime.

Sincerely,

Erin Koegel

State Representative

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