Things have really picked up at the Capitol as we have just a little over a month to go until the end of the 2018 legislative session.
Here is a recap of the week that was.
Omnibus Bills Taking Shape
Much of our work this week was spent in committee working on assembling omnibus finance and policy bills. These bills reflect the priorities of everyday Minnesotans and I’m proud of the work we’ve accomplished moving them through the legislative process.
It has been our commitment from the beginning of session to focus on the things that matter most to Minnesotans and I believe that we are delivering on that promise by making commonsense investments in improved school safety, rebuilding our roads and bridges, and ensuring that Minnesota’s tax system is not only simplified, but that Minnesotans are able to receive the full benefits of the federal tax bill that was passed last December.
Tax Conformity on the Way?
As I’ve mentioned in the past, the issue of federal tax conformity will play a huge role during this year’s session.
Here’s a brief refresher for those that may not remember.
When federal tax reform was signed into law by President Trump last year, millions of Americans began to see more take home pay in their paychecks. The federal reform also had impacts on Minnesota’s tax code and filing system. Because of this, the state has to decide to what extent it wants to conform to the changes.
If we don’t conform, filing state income taxes will be much more complex and costly. If we do conform, but elect not to make any additional changes to our state tax code, taxes will go up for thousands of Minnesotans.
Ultimately, my goal is to make sure as many Minnesotans as possible are held harmless with any changes made and that they are able to fully benefit from the federal tax reform bill. It’s a very complicated process and I would expect the House to unveil its plan in the coming days.
On Monday, the House approved legislation that would require legislative approval for any rulemaking at the Minnesota Department of Agriculture pertaining to “water resource protection requirements,” for nitrogen fertilizers.
The legislation was passed on a bipartisan basis.
This legislation is not about disputing the science behind nitrates and its effects on drinking water. Everyone wants to make sure that our drinking water is safe and clean for generations to come.
Instead, this legislation is about process. The proposed rule came very late in the process and a number of farm groups and lawmakers felt as though they weren’t adequately included in discussions. This is simply about bringing some much needed oversight to this type of rulemaking and I am hopeful that the Governor will not veto the bill and listen to the voices and concerns of the farming community.
Finally, there was exciting news this week out of the State Government Finance Committee as Chair Anderson and others announced plans to construct three new veterans homes in Montevideo, Bemidji, and Preston.
Funding for the homes would come from the Vikings Stadium Reserve Account.
I am hopeful that this provision will remain a part of the State Government Finance omnibus bill as it continues its way through the legislative process. Our veterans deserve this.
Representatives from the University of Minnesota-Duluth's national championship winning hockey teamed visited the capitol this week. Here I am pictured with their championship trophy. Go Bulldogs!
Members of the Brainerd Chamber of Commerce visited this week, thanks for stopping by!
Local resident, Ben Rudrud stopped by this week to discuss school safety initiatives. In addition to visiting with me, Ben also had meetings with House Education Committee chairs to talk about the important topic of school safety. Thanks for your advocacy!
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