Dear Friends and Neighbors,
We are moving into our final couple days here in St. Paul with a plan to be finishing our legislative business late Sunday evening. In addition to debating and passing a myriad of smaller measures, we are working hard to pass - and have signed into law - our major initiatives like tax conformity, bonding, school safety, and more. There’s lots that will be changing in the next couple days, and I’ll be sure to keep you updated when everything is wrapped up. Stay tuned!
DJJ Bill One Step Closer to Becoming Law
Just minutes ago, the House passed the final version of my bill, HF3763, to prevent future raids of the Douglas J. Johnson (DJJ) Trust Fund. Now passed in the House, the bill heads back to the Senate and then on to the governor’s desk for a signature to become law!
The legislation clarifies current statute relating to the DJJ economic protection trust fund. The change ensures money in the fund is only used for the benefit of the Taconite Assistance Area and shall not be expended, appropriated, or transferred from the fund for any other purpose. Though it’s a very common sense bill, there were minor differences between the House version and the Senate version. We quickly fixed these in a conference committee – which I was honored to chair – and re-passed the bill in the House on a unanimous vote of 118-0.
I’m thrilled to have the support of all of my colleagues, and especially those in the Iron Range Delegation who know how important this bill is for our area.
We got the week off to a strong start by passing our bonding bill off the floor of the House with the 60% vote required. Unfortunately, the same supermajority vote was not there when the bill came up for a vote in the Senate later in the week with the measure failing along party lines. There are signs the DFL minority may be willing to reconsider so we can continue to work toward final passage of a bonding bill.
Yesterday, after vigorous floor debate, the House passed a bill to propose a constitutional amendment, to be voted on at the 2018 general election that would give voters the choice to dedicate additional funds for roads and bridges through sales tax dedication from auto parts sales. The sales tax dedication, phased in over a period of four years, would raise approximately $250-$260 million per year. The Senate will next take up this bill and, if passed, voters will see this question on the ballot in November.
Yesterday, I spoke on the House floor to honor the 100-year anniversary of the photograph "Grace." The photographer, Eric Enstrom, was from Bovey and the man in the portrait was from Grand Rapids. It's pretty amazing that this picture is known worldwide. Brian Carlson, local advocate who helped coordinate this event, joined me in this photo on the House floor. It was really special to have Eric Enstrom’s grandchildren in St. Paul to take part in our celebration of Eric, as well as this world-renowned photograph.
If you’re interested, here's a clip from yesterday’s floor session honoring Eric Enstrom and Minnesota’s official photograph, "Grace."
With session wrapping up on Sunday, I wanted to say a sincere thank you to all who have called, emailed, written, and visited my office in St. Paul. It’s an amazing honor to serve as a voice for our area, and I’ve valued all of the discussions we’ve had this session. I’m looking forward to spending more time at home, and seeing you around town.
Have a great weekend,