This week was the first committee deadline week at the legislature. In order to continue going through the legislative process, bills must be approved in the body (House or Senate) that they were introduced in by the first deadline. This made for a busy week of bills being heard in committees for me and my colleagues!
House File 4094
Lynn Barten, a licensed childcare provider in Alexandria, joined me in committee yesterday to testify in favor of a bill based on an issue she shared with me. Some childcare providers are approved trainers of several of the mandatory classes that are written by the Department of Human Services. This means they not only have to pay to take the training classes from DHS to be eligible to train the class and learn the curriculum, but they also have to pay to take the class from another trainer for their own license. Under my bill, a childcare provider may count one half hour for each hour of training conducted in the training area toward the annual 16 hour training requirement.
It's exciting to bring forth bill ideas from the district and make those ideas a legislative reality. While this bill has another committee stop, I am hopeful we can get it onto the House Floor for a full vote this session. Thanks to Lynn for making the trip down to testify!
The legislature took meaningful steps forward this week in fixing the broken MNLARS system that many of you have experienced problems with firsthand. The House and Senate both passed compromised legislation yesterday to provide $10 million in emergency funding to address the problems that have plagued this failed system since its rollout last July. In addition to the funding, this bill also includes strict legislative oversight on the project to ensure the money is being spent properly and progress is being made. With nearly $100 million in taxpayer money already spent on MNLARS, Minnesotans are rightfully frustrated with the failures of the Dayton Administration to deliver the working system they deserve. This legislation implements significant reforms to increase accountability and ensure real solutions are the result of the additional funding.
Governor Dayton approved the legislation by signing it into law last night.
Governor Dayton’s Supplemental Budget Proposal
Last Friday, Governor Dayton released his supplemental budget proposal for the remainder of session. The Governor’s proposed budget includes fee increases on DMV fees to provide more funding for fixes for MNLARS, as well as other tax increases totaling more than a billion dollars to finance more government spending. House Republicans have no plans to force Minnesotans to pay higher DMV fees in order to clean up this administration’s MNLARS disaster. It would simply be irresponsible to ask Minnesotans to pay more in taxes and fees when our state has a budget surplus exceeding $300 million.
Nonetheless, I was pleased to hear his proposal for the badly needed funding to help deputy registrars across the state that have been hurt by MNLARS complications. I am optimistic for a productive session working with the Governor on this and other important issues to build on last session’s historic accomplishments.
I was delighted to have the opportunity to welcome Sidney and Dakota from the Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) program to the Capitol this week. DECA is an international organization that prepares high school and college students for careers in entrepreneurship, marketing, finance, hospitality and management. Dakota studies marketing at Alexandria Technical College and Sidney attends Alexandria Area High School and is interested in pursuing a career in finance.
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If you ever have any additional questions or comments regarding any issue related to state government, please feel free to reach out. I would love to hear from you.
I truly represent the best!