Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Before we get to this week’s legislative news, I want to congratulate the Greenway boys’ hockey team on their exciting 6-4 win over Delano last night in the first round of the state hockey tournament. It’s exciting to have an area team in the state tournament and great to see these athletes representing our community well. Best of luck to the Raiders today in the state semifinals against Mahtomedi!
In this week’s legislative update, I’d like to fill you in on a Line 3 development, Iron Range news, flood relief funding, and MNLARS legislation.
Line 3 Project Delayed
Enbridge recently announced it’s delaying the construction of its Line 3 pipeline until late 2020 – over a year later than initially planned. I was disappointed to learn of this but believe the blame lays directly on Governor Walz and his administration. There have been countless holdups with the state permitting process and now the Walz administration is continuing to obstruct this project by renewing legal challenges against it. As state government continues to throw up unnecessary roadblocks and make it difficult for companies to operate here, I fear we will see more large, beneficial investments and projects leave our state. Folks in our area and northern Minnesota are longing for the good-paying jobs and property tax relief this investment represents and I will continue to voice my support for this project.
Iron Range News
An article in the Star Tribune last weekend discussed the Iron Range’s surging economy, including increased iron ore exports, higher iron ore prices, more jobs, and expanded mining operations. Recent conversations I have had with steelworkers and mining executives confirm to me what this article points out - that this rebound can be credited to our country’s thriving economy and the administration’s trade policies and tariffs on foreign steel. I was interviewed for the article, which you can read by clicking here.
Flood Relief Funding
This week in the Greater Minnesota Jobs Committee, we heard legislation to add an additional $10 million into a disaster relief fund to help with flood-response efforts this spring. Given how much it has snowed this winter, we are anticipating some serious and dangerous flooding when all this snow eventually melts. This has the potential to cause some serious damage and have a significant impact, so it’s important that local first responders have the resources they need. Before the creation of this fund, past legislatures needed to be called back into special session to deal with flooding and other disasters. I am supportive of replenishing this fund to proactively plan ahead for the natural disasters we know will occur in our state.
Click here for an article with some additional background info on this issue.
Earlier this week, the governor signed into law legislation to provide nearly $13 million in additional funding for fixes to MNLARS, the state’s licensing system that has been plagued by problems. I’m disappointed to see that this action puts more money into a government agency that has lacked accountability in the past, while not providing deputy registrars with any relief. Deputy registrars are locally-owned DMV offices, whose owners have been hit hard and suffered financially because of the failures of MNLARS. These folks have waited long enough for this badly-needed relief, and I hope the legislature can provide it at some point this session.
Had an informative conversation about local resource conservation efforts with Jim Ballenthin of the Cass County Soil and Water Conservation District.
Visited with Dr. Lisa Johnson and Dr. Jim Rostvold, dentists from Grand Rapids representing the MN Dental Association.
Had a fun conversation with Jeff Johns and John Grabko of the Forest History Center in Grand Rapids during their visit for History Matters Day at the Capitol.
Please Contact Me
As always, please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns on any legislative issue. I value your input and would love to hear from you.
Have a great weekend,