Here is an update with the latest news from the Capitol.
Ways and Means
This week in the Ways and Means Committee, we advanced a number of important bills that are being considered in the House.
The first bill is the “Hands Free” bill which would ban handheld cell phone use when operating a motor vehicle. Distracted driving is a serious problem in Minnesota, and I think this is an important bill that will help keep more drivers’ eyes on the road and off their phones.
The next bill we passed is a proposed constitutional amendment that would go to Minnesota voters for approval. If it became law, it would dedicate the state general sales tax revenue from motor vehicle repair and replacement parts to road and bridge projects beginning in July 2024.
Fixing and maintaining our transportation infrastructure is a key job of government, and I think this is a commonsense proposal that uses transportation-related taxes for transportation-related expenses. I am supportive of this amendment, and believe it will help ensure steady funding for needed road and bridge projects going forward.
Finally, in an effort to combat the serious and growing problem of opioid addiction in our state, we advanced legislation that will establish an Opioid Prevention and Treatment Advisory Council. This council would be tasked with focusing on prevention, education, substance abuse and services. Money would also be appropriated to help fund initiatives around opioid addiction.
Stillwater Bonding Project
As I shared in a previous update, I am carrying a bill that would appropriate money to the city of Stillwater to restore the St. Croix River riverbank area, as well as construct an integrated walkway there. This is an important local project for our community. I toured the project near historic downtown with members of the Capital Investment Committee and saw the critical need for this project.
While the funding was not included in the House version of the Capital Investment bill released last week, it was included in the Senate version. I am hopeful we can get this project to the finish line and will be advocating for it to be signed into law.
This week, the State Government Finance Committee held an informational hearing on the House proposal that would fund three new veterans homes in Minnesota with excess funding from the Vikings Stadium Reserve Account. It was disappointing that Commissioner Myron Frans decided not to attend at the last minute, and shared that Governor Dayton did not support our proposal to fund these homes with excess reserve dollars.
This is an important issue for veterans and their families, and I will keep you updated as we head into the last week of session.
At the Capitol
The Nickelson, Emmert and Anderson families visited me at the Capitol this week to talk about the importance of educational choice and homeschool. Thanks for coming to the Capitol!
With students Ella from Forest Lake and Matthew from Stillwater—both attend Liberty Classical Academy
With Kathy Smith, Curriculum Director for Liberty Classical Academy
With family and friends of the Vessey Family who came to support Senate File 1694, the General John Vessey Day bill
As always, thank you for the honor of being your state representative. Please contact me with any questions or input you may have; I look forward to hearing from you.