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

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Legislative News from Rep. Bob Dettmer

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Hello from the State Capitol,


The 2021 legislative session has ended, and lawmakers have left St. Paul without a completed budget and without an end to Governor Walz’s emergency powers.


I was disappointed with the end result. I do believe the Governor was doing a disservice to the people of Minnesota for not working with the legislature and not allowing the emergency power to come back to the legislature in a timely manner after his administration had organized their approach to the pandemic.


It was also frustrating that a budget target was negotiated between the governor, House speaker, and Senate majority leader just hours before session ended.


The legislature did not approve a spending bill within any area of state government before session adjourned, which hasn’t happened in decades.


Along with finalizing a budget, there is also no end in sight for Governor Walz’s emergency powers, nor is there a plan that allows the legislature to have full control over how federal aid will be distributed.


Legislation that would exempt Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Unemployment Insurance income from state taxes was agreed upon, but House Democrats refused to bring the proposal up for a vote on the final day, even though they verbally agreed to eventually pass these provisions. Had they allowed a vote on this provision, there is little doubt it would have been approved with overwhelming bipartisan support.


The reality is session is over, but the work is not completed. A special session is likely to be called in mid-June.


One bit of good news from the end of session: the legislature did approve a state government/veterans affairs bill that gives legislative approval to distribute federal funds to equip, construct, and furnish 3 new vets homes in Preston, Montevideo, and Bemidji.


Construction is scheduled to begin this fall.


I am very pleased the legislature made our veterans homes a priority and agreed to this language before session adjourned. I would also like to thank the community leaders from Bemidji, Montevideo and Preston for their hard work on these important projects. For decades, Minnesota has had an urgent need for these facilities, and building these three new veterans homes will be welcome news for the men and women who fought for our freedoms.


Talk to you soon,