Dear Friends and Neighbors,
The pace at the Capitol has changed as we move into our final weeks and begin debating our larger bills in a variety of issue areas. This week, we unveiled our tax conformity proposal and passed legislation to improve school safety around the state. As we debate these bills, I’ll continue to keep you updated on the latest. As always, please continue to share your thoughts on the big issues facing the legislature.
Before I delve into the biggest topics of the week, I wanted to let our area know about an important event. Saturday, April 28 is National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. This is when residents can bring their unused prescriptions to a participating site (the nearest for many in our district is the Cass County or the Itasca County Sherriff’s Office), to safely dispose of these medications. This is a key tool in fighting the opioid epidemic and helping to keep dangerous drugs out of the hands of those who wish to misuse them. For more information on the event, please click here.
Because of changes to the federal tax code, we’re working on updating our laws to make it easier on tax filers next year. We introduced our proposal this week that simplifies our tax code, and, more importantly, provides middle class tax relief. Some highlights of the bill include:
Coming into this session, tax conformity was a priority for the legislature.
Just yesterday, the House acted on another of our priorities by passing a solid bill that improves school safety throughout the state as part of our Education Omnibus Bill. A few of the big points of this bill include:
Wild Rice Sulfate Standard
On Monday, another important bill to our area was debated and passed in the House. The bill, which passed on a bipartisan vote, protects Minnesota’s natural wild rice resources. It does this by doing away with the outdated, 45-year-old numeric sulfate standard that, if enforced, would cause countless, unneeded costs for waste water treatment plants. Our bill gives the state a chance to come back with a workable plan that protects wild rice and respects taxpayers.
Minnesota Telecom Alliance Day
Tuesday marked Minnesota Telecom Alliance Day at the Capitol. I was honored to serve as keynote speaker to this group as chief author of the broadband bill in the House. Increasing broadband funding and connectivity in our state is an economic development and quality of life issue for communities and families. I’m continuing to work toward increased funding in the legislature, and am encouraged we can get it done this year. For more of my thoughts on the need for broadband, you can read my commentary I wrote this week on the topic.
Truly one of my favorite parts of being a legislator is seeing student groups from our area make the trip to see the Capitol and take in the legislative process. This week I was fortunate to meet with Katherine Johnson’s 5th grade class from St. Joseph’s School in Grand Rapids. I had previously met with this group for a classroom visit in their school, so it was great to reconnect and be able to actually show them what we do in the legislature.
Please Contact Me
Again, please reach out if you’d like to share your thoughts on the legislative session. We’re just a few weeks away from wrapping up, and I always value local input as we discuss bills at the Capitol.
Have a great spring weekend!