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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Mary Franson (R)

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Legislative Update (6-16-15)

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Dear Neighbors,

The 2015 legislative session has officially come to a close as lawmakers returned to St. Paul on Friday, June 12th for a special session to re-pass three budget bills that had been vetoed by Governor Dayton. While I am disappointed that the governor vetoed these bills—which had broad bipartisan support—I am pleased that we were able to come to an agreement and complete the work that Minnesotans sent us to St. Paul to complete.

I am proud of the work we were able to accomplish this session, especially considering we are only one half of one branch of state government. My colleagues and I in the House held our ground and were able to defeat the largest proposed gas tax in state history, Governor Dayton’s intrusive, universal pre-kindergarten program—all the while pushing for a full 2 percent increase in the per pupil formula in our education budget, prioritizing our seniors, and passing a budget with the third lowest percent increase in general fund spending in over 50 years.

The three budget bills we passed on Friday included the K-12 Education omnibus budget bill, Agriculture and Environment budget omnibus budget bill, and the Jobs and Economic Development omnibus budget bill. It is worth noting that none of these renegotiated budget bills that have now been signed into law by the governor are dramatically different from the original bills that he vetoed. Some highlights from the three budget bills include:

K-12 Education


  • $525 million in additional education funding which will allow for a full 2 percent increase on the per pupil formula in 2016 and 2017


  • Expanded parental choice by increasing funding and accessibility for targeted pre-kindergarten scholarships


  • Reduction in the number of mandated standardized tests


  • Teacher licensure reform to address teacher shortages in Greater Minnesota

Jobs and Economic Development


  • Secured unemployment assistance for farm workers impacted by the avian flu outbreak and steelworkers impacted by Iron Range layoffs


  • Provide funding for broadband grants in Greater Minnesota


  • Reduced overall spending by $24 million

Agriculture and Environment


  • Provided nearly $23 million to state agencies in order to better prevent and respond to the avian flu outbreak that has devastated Minnesota turkey flocks


  • Repealed the current ‘Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Trailer Sticker/Decal’ law and replaced it with a requirement that the boat owner sign an affirmation stating they will abide by AIS laws


  • Increased funding for Soil and Water Conservation districts to fund more projects


  • Abolished the Minnesota Pollution Control’s “citizens board” which was an unelected board that had power in excess of other advisory boards

This session we proved that state government can prioritize existing revenue and invest in the things that matter most to Minnesotans without raising taxes. Looking ahead to next year, we have nearly $850 million on the state’s bottom line and I expect tax relief and a comprehensive transportation plan to be among the top priorities at the legislature next session.

Thanks for taking time to read this week’s update. As always, please feel free to contact me via e-mail at Rep.Mary.Franson@House.MN or contact my office at 651-296-3201. You can also send mail to my office address: 517 State Office Building, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55155.






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