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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Laurie Pryor (DFL)

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Legislative Update - April 27, 2017

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Dear Neighbors,

With just over three weeks to go in the legislative session, the House/Senate conference committees are negotiating final budget bills and the clock is ticking. We all know some compromise is necessary to bridge the differences between competing interests. We also know that the final budget should reflect the values and priorities of this great state. I remain committed to passing a budget that takes care of critical needs such as a quality education for all our students, protection of our natural resources, effective tools to improve economic opportunity, and tax policies that are fair to everyone. The current omnibus bills passed by the Republican majority fall short of these goals. We have our work cut out for us between now and midnight May 22.

In addition to the important budget bills, I'd like to highlight the need to pass two other critical bills for this session:

Bonding Bill

Across the state, our higher education institutions, correctional facilities, water infrastructure, parks, trails and other state assets are in need of upgrades. Interest rates have been low, but are climbing again, increasing the cost of bonding. Continued delay only adds to the cost. At this late stage of the legislative session, the House Republican Majority has yet to propose, and open up to public review, a bonding bill. The committee chair in charge of putting together such a package told Minnesota Public Radio that "I've got a spreadsheet that I take out of my drawer every now and then." Time to bring it out and share it!

Members of the public should be able to see a proposal and have adequate time to provide input. Instead, I’m fearful that the House Republican Majority is again going to use this critical package of investments as a bargaining chip toward the end of session. Last year, we all saw how well that turned out. The bonding bill was released with just minutes to go in the session, and ultimately no bill passed, resulting in a chaotic conclusion we would do well to avoid.

Real ID

Another issue yet to be resolved is our state’s compliance with Real ID, a federal regulation that Minnesota must comply with by 2018 in order for a driver’s license to be sufficient to board aircraft, visit a military base, or enter certain federal buildings. I continue to hear from many of you concerned about this and how it may impact your ability to travel in the future.

With the House and Senate both passing different versions of a bill to fix this, a conference committee is currently negotiating a final version. The crux of the disagreement remains whether or not to include unrelated language about the ability of undocumented immigrants to obtain a driver’s license. This language is absent from the Senate version, but is included in the bill that passed the House. Because of the impact on so many Minnesotans, these subjects should be dealt with separately and I hope those on the conference committee will settle on a clean bill.

Earth Day

This weekend I participated in activities to celebrate Earth Day in the community. We gathered in the Glen Lake neighborhood doing things such as picking up litter and planting milkweed seeds – a plant that is monarch butterfly and pollinator friendly. It was wonderful to see so many neighborhood children join the festivities. Some of them joined this photo with Sen. Steve Cwodzinski (left), Glen Lake Elementary Principal Jeff Radel (right), and me. A big thank you goes to Bev Gillen for organizing the event.

House Image


National Prescription Drug Take Back Day

The Eden Prairie Police Department encourages residents to dispose of unwanted medication. Residents will have this opportunity as part of National Prescription Drug Take Back Day from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.this Saturday, April 29, at the Eden Prairie Senior Center, 8950 Eden Prairie Road. Proper disposal of this medication ensures it remains out of the hands of individuals who may abuse it, and protects the environment.The Minnesota Attorney General’s office has more information about this initiative here.

Keep in touch with your thoughts on these and other issues; your input is always appreciated. I welcome your calls and emails anytime.


Laurie Pryor

State Representative