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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Bob Dettmer (R)

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Legislative Update from Rep. Bob Dettmer

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Hello from St. Paul,


Last week we learned that our projected budget surplus has dropped from $1.5 billion to $1 billion. We still are awaiting budget bills from House leadership that reflect this total.


This much is certain: Governor Walz’s ideas to implement a 20-cent per gallon gasoline tax increase, a $2 billion increase to the cost of health care and a $1 billion property tax increase are unacceptable. As has already been stated, that’s not One Minnesota, that’s One Expensive Minnesota. With a $1 billion surplus, there is no reason whatsoever to raise anyone’s taxes this session; nor should we be growing government at unsustainable rates.



Governor Walz has signed into law another financial bailout of the state’s failing drivers’ licensing system.


The bill provided $5.7 million to continue work on MNLARS; $5.5 million for Phase 2 of the FAST Drivers Licensing System; AND $2 million for additional staffing at the Department of Public Safety Department of Vehicle Services division.


It provided nothing for the deputy registrars across the state that have already lost millions of dollars thanks to MNLARS’ shortcomings.


Last year I serves on the state government finance committee and heard about MNLARS multiple times. The program still isn’t working as it should. I’d support a bill that allocated some money for the deputy registrars, but this bill contained nothing which is why I voted no. You may recall in 2018, the legislature sent a standalone deputy registrar relief bill to Governor Dayton's desk, but the bill was ultimately vetoed.




Two of my bills have been approved by the Minnesota House Veterans and Military Affairs Finance and Policy Division and are now heading to the Taxes Division. My thanks to those who testified in favor of the plan.


Under current law, the spouse of a veteran who is 100 percent disabled receives the benefit of a property tax exclusion for eight years. My legislation, House File 204, would extend that benefit for as long as the spouse lives in that house. My second provision, House File 205, would allow a disabled veteran’s spouse a one-time home sale with the opportunity to continue their property tax exclusion at their new home.


House File 492, which establishes a misdemeanor for traffic violations that cause great bodily harm or death to someone, has been moved to the House Transportation Division and I’m hopeful to get a hearing on this soon. You’ll recall last year an 11-year-old died in Chisago County after being struck by a driver who had gone through a stop sign. The driver’s only punishment was a fine for a stop sign violation. My bill ensures drivers would at least have to make a court appearance if they caused someone’s death or serious injury.


I also had a hearing on my charitable gaming bills this week and was joined by some great area testifiers.


Congratulations to the Forest Lake wrestling team, coached by Wrestling Coach of the Year for Class AAA Joe Kunshier. Not only did it compete in the state tournament, but there were six individual qualifiers, which ultimately resulted in one state champion in the 120 pound class, 3rd place in the 106 pound class, and 6th place in the 160 pound class. Well done!


Have a good weekend,