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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Dean Urdahl (R)

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Legislative update

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Dear Neighbor,

The Minnesota Legislature adjourned Monday, putting a bow on the 93d Legislature and my 22-year career in the House.

Earlier this year I announced I was retiring and you can click here to see my farewell speech.

As with all sessions, there was good, bad and ugly this year at the Capitol. Here’s a quick look at what took place:

No bonding bill

As the ranking Republican on the House Capital Investment Committee I was disappointed a bonding package to fund essential infrastructure projects around the state went unpassed this session. A bill providing cash for projects passed the House late Sunday night, including $10 million for wastewater work in Litchfield, but the Senate missed the midnight deadline to provide final approval by a minute or less. A bonding package never did come to the House floor in 2024.

It’s disappointing we worked so hard to get it done and it was right there, but time mismanagement is causing important projects to die on the vine. The project in Litchfield is a prime example because of how it impacts the ag industry in our state. This needs to be done, we got it to the brink and then bad clock management cost the people of our state.

Isaac’s Voice passes

A bill I authored to improve notification requirements on orders for protection in the wake of a local tragedy is on the governor’s desk for enactment. Under current law, a person who is the family or household member of a person who has been abused can petition the court for an order for protection. Notice of any changes to the order must be provided to the petitioner and the respondent.

My bill, known as “Isaac’s Voice” requires notice to also be provided to any custodian of the petitioner’s minor children. This legislation is in response to a situation in Renville County, where 13-year-old Isaac Hoff – who was protecting his mother from being assaulted by her boyfriend – was stabbed by the boyfriend and died from his injuries.

Excessive spending/taxing

With the record $18 billion surplus last year, Minnesotans deserved meaningful tax cuts at a time when in?ation and rising costs of living have family budgets stretched thin. Instead, Democrats went on a spending spree, increasing the budget by 40% – the largest budget increase in Minnesota history – and raising taxes by $10 billion in the process.

The trajectory our state is on should be highly concerning to Minnesotans because it’s just not sustainable. Families and businesses are struggling to get by, but our government keeps spending more and more, raising taxes along the way. We need more balance at the Capitol because the current one-party control is unaffordable.

Fixing issues

Republicans spent part of the 2024 session successfully resolving significant problems created in 2023. this includes a fix to the tax bill, getting school resource officers back in all the buildings they had been serving, and correcting a net-operating loss issue. Legislation

Nursing homes and ambulances

Legislation Republicans championed to provide an additional $30 million for Emergency Ambulance Service Aid also received legislative approval. This is on top of the $300 we successfully negotiated for our struggling nursing homes last year.

Controversial bills

Several highly controversial, partisan policy measures were enacted with one party in control the last two years. This includes adopting some of the world’s most extreme abortion policy, enacting a state-funded speech registry that could undermine First Amendment rights, eroding Second Amendment rights and declaring Minnesota a sanctuary state for transgender healthcare – for children. In addition, a Democrat provision ended electronic pull tabs as we knew them, dealing a major blow to local charitable organizations.

Big win for religious freedom

Religious freedom was another high-profile issue this session after protections against discrimination claims that had been in our state for decades were eliminated. A variation of Republican legislation was enacted into law this session re-establishing protections for religious entities.

Until next time

While my time on the House floor came to a close on Monday, my term in the House does not expire until early 2025. Please stay in touch and let me know how I can help.