This week we spent in wrapping up conference committee negotiations for most of our major budget bills. These bills where negotiated within the joint budget targets that the Minnesota House announced in partnership with the Senate on Friday of last week.
Budget Target Negotiations
Our budget target agreement with the Senate includes $1.15 billion in tax relief, and $372 million in new transportation funds. Our State Government Finance bill conference committee report, including our veterans provisions, has been completed, and we are hoping to see these agreements be taken up by the House and Senate very soon.
We have made significant progress in these last couple of weeks, and we should have no trouble completing our work before the end of session with time to spare if things continue on this trajectory.
In terms of negotiating with the Governor, we have yet to have any meaningful conversations regarding the Governor’s goal for budget targets, in spite of numerous invitations to the Governor by House leadership. I am still hopeful that we will be able to stay on track, and come to an agreement with the Governor before the end of session. House leadership is doing everything within their power to work with Governor Dayton and come to compromises that the Governor is willing to sign.
Call for Vietnam War Stories
Twin Cities Public Television is working on planning the Minnesota Remembers Vietnam initiative, a project that will share the stories of Vietnam War veterans through programming, events, and digital experiences. Two bills that I introduced this session would provide matching funds for this important project.
Recently TPT launched a story-submission website where Vietnam veterans will be able to submit their stories as TPT and Minnesota PBS begins to gather untold stories, audio and photos from the Vietnam War. Many of these Veterans did not receive the welcome home that so many of us were fortunate enough to have upon our return from service. It is time that our communities hear the experiences of our Vietnam veterans. There is a human face to every armed conflict, and the story of our soldiers in Vietnam needs to be told.
Israeli Defense Force Visit
On Monday, we had the privilege of welcoming members of each branch of the Israeli Defense Forces to the House chamber in recognition of Yom Hazikaron, which is Israel’s Memorial Day. It was an honor to greet these brave young men and woman, and show support for their efforts to keep their nation safe.
National Day of Prayer
Yesterday, we observed National Day of Prayer at the Capitol. In the morning I had the pleasure of attending a service in Stillwater, and went to Forest Lake to give a prayer at a gathering there as well.
Thank you to anyone who took the time to attend these events and pray for our nation.
School Visits to the Capitol
Both this week I had the pleasure of chatting with school groups from our district at the Capitol.
Students and teachers from Liberty Classical Academy stopped by for a Capitol visits on Monday. Here we are outside of the House Chamber.
Chisago Lakes Baptist School’s 3rd and 4th grades classes also stopped in for a visit and tour of the Capitol. We had a chance to take a picture at the Speaker of the House’s podium in the House Chamber.
I so enjoyed talking with these groups of kids and look forward to seeing their leadership in our communities in the near future.
I also had the pleasure of having students Nicolas Nosser (North Lakes Academy) and Ryan Mead (Forest Lake High School) shadow me for the day. Both Nicolas and Ryan will be attending Boy’s State this June at Saint John’s University through the American Legion.
Thank you for the privilege of being your representative. As we wrap up this last few weeks of the Legislative Session, please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns that arise.