We’re coming to the end of the 2017 legislative session, and it is time for serious negotiations. Over the last couple weeks, the legislature (Senate and House) negotiated a compromise on all budget bills weeks earlier than the last biennium.
Unfortunately, the fast pace we have been keeping slowed significantly when legislative leaders attempted to bridge the $1 billion gap between our budget and the governor’s proposal. Governor Dayton did not express interest in moving toward a serious compromise. As a result, the Senate and House are passing their budget bills and sending them to the governor for action.
You will be hearing a lot of “noise” in the media about political gamesmanship. Just know that we’re working to deliver a balanced budget, and need the governor to be willing to find a middle ground between his proposals and our bills.
It’s spring, which means it’s a perfect time of year for our local students to get out of the classroom, and take a field trip to enhance their learning. This week, I was fortunate to visit with 4th grade students from Murphy Elementary School in Grand Rapids. These kids were hard to miss at the capitol in their bright orange Thunderhawk shirts! Thanks to all the students, teachers, and chaperones who came to St. Paul; I loved visiting with you!
I know many in our area are concerned with Xcel Energy’s decision to move away from their biomass mandate. The potential loss of this large biomass customer hurts loggers around the state. Xcel customers want relief from the higher electric rates they are paying because of solar and biomass mandates that were legislated as part of their nuclear storage negotiations more than a decade ago. In the legislature, we are sensitive to that cost but want to make certain our loggers and other stakeholders are at the table if these mandates are lifted.
Chaplain of the Day
Each day we have a floor session, a chaplain leads the House in prayer before we start. This week, I was grateful to have my own pastor, Mark Peske of Our Redeemer Lutheran Church in Cohasset, join us to give the opening prayer. Thanks to Pastor Mark for making the trip to St. Paul, and for helping start our session out on the right foot.
I’ve heard from some around the district who are concerned with the health care bill recently passed in Congress. Right now, much of health care policy is dictated at the federal level, but we’re closely watching these actions in order to prepare for our own reform legislation. Minnesota was once a leader in health care, and our hope is to get back to a model that other states try to replicate. There’s still plenty to be decided, but please know we’re working to make health care and health insurance more affordable and accessible to all Minnesotans.
Please Contact Me
There’s just over a week left in session, so please reach out if you have a question on anything we’re discussing.
Have a great weekend, and, of course, Happy Mother’s Day!