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

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Legislative Update from Rep. Bob Dettmer

Monday, February 18, 2013


Calling on the IOC to Reconsider Wrestling

After the International Olympic Committee this week announced it will no longer recognize Wrestling as an Olympic sport beginning in 2020, I drafted a House Resolution calling on the organization to reconsider and have gained the support of numerous colleagues in the Legislature. Wrestling is a cherished tradition in Minnesota and many in our state, including me, have personal ties to the sport. As a competitor in the 1972 Olympic trials, I know first-hand that Minnesota has strong ties to the games each year they are held. I hope the IOC will reconsider the decision.

MCCL Dinner

I attended the annual pro-life legislative dinner sponsored by Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life on Tuesday. It was a very informative and valuable opportunity to hear about MCCL’s legislative priorities for protecting life this session and the work they do.


MCCL Legislative Dinner – 2/12/13

Changes Made to House Rules
On Monday night, a contentious floor debate took place over the rule changes proposed by the new DFL Majority. Legislators argued into the night over the changes that would require that amendments be submitted 24 hours in advance of a bill coming to the floor. While many of the rule changes are what I consider 'inside baseball,' I believe it's important that you be aware of the impact of these drastic changes.

With a 24-hour rule in place, it's impossible and against the rules for new amendments to be offered from the floor during the debate. This brings Washington-style politics to Saint Paul, and is designed to limit the voices of the Minority. The debates in Washington are scripted and oftentimes legislators give speeches to a largely empty room since the debate is more or less decided and set 24-hours or more in advance. It's my belief that the 24 hour rule limits citizen input; there have been numerous times where an error has been caught, or an idea for an amendment has been sent in by a constituent watching the debate from home. Last session those amendments -- good ideas from the public -- could be offered while the debate was taking place. That is no longer possible.

Tax Conformity Bill Approved

This week, the Minnesota House approved bipartisan legislation that conforms Minnesota’s individual income tax and corporate franchise tax to most federal changes enacted since April 14, 2011, for the tax year 2012 only (HF6). Passing this legislation will prevent many Minnesotans from having to amend their tax returns in the future, and provides middle-class tax relief. As Minnesotans have now received their W-2’s and other year-end tax returns in the mail, it was critical for the Legislature to take quick action so residents would not encounter delays in receiving their tax refund.

Public Employee Contracts Approved

The House this week approved five public employee contracts and two compensation plans, covering approximately 35,000 workers. The contracts grant 2-percent pay increases and step increases for eligible employees (approximately half). All contracts include a continuation of employers covering 100 percent of employee health insurance premium and 85 percent of dependent coverage (premiums estimated to increase 9 percent in 2013). The latest numbers from the seven contracts approved to date – with 11 more contracts to be approved – show a $249 million increase in the 2014-15 all-funds budget.

This plan gives government workers a 2-percent pay raise just one month after most Minnesotans received a 2-percent reduction in take-home pay. The contracts spend millions more of taxpayer dollars, but fail to include much-needed reform to contain taxpayer costs. Our unfunded liability to the state pension systems has a shortfall of approximately $16.7 billion, yet this issue went unaddressed.