This week we finished voting on the DFL omnibus budget bills. Among the many problems with these bills were funding for a pay raise for legislators, a 70% gas tax increase, a $68 million cut from Minnesota nursing homes, and a total of $12 billion in tax increases across all budget bills over the next four years.
In addition, the education bill included some problematic language about teaching comprehensive sex education. The new DFL mandate would contradict current law that emphasizes abstinence and lets Planned Parenthood write the curriculum. The learning materials we heard about during debate were disturbing, and this mandate would allow unlicensed activists to teach them instead of our teachers who were hired to teach those classes. I supported amendments to remove this section of the bill or at least to allow schools to opt out, but House Democrats blocked both amendments.
Democrats also blocked my amendment to protect girls from the barbaric practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). They have refused to give my bill that does the same thing a hearing all session. It is shameful that when given the opportunity to protect women and girls from this incredibly heinous practice, Democrats refused to take action yet again.
In the Higher Education bill, Democrats have a provision that would result in the children of illegal aliens receiving more state grant aid money for college tuition than legal Minnesota residents. I had an amendment that would end the Prosperity Act and require all State Grant dollars to go to legal Minnesota residents. Unfortunately, Democrats blocked the amendment.
Transportation has been a big topic of discussion this week. On Monday, we debated for hours on the Transportation Omnibus bill, which contained a 70% increase in the gas tax. That would be incredibly painful for Minnesotans, especially those in Greater Minnesota.
On Wednesday, Governor Walz indicated he would scrap the failed MNLARS system and instead start using a product from a private vendor. Republicans have been advocating to end the MNLARS boondoggle for years, and I’m glad Governor Walz finally agrees. Although I wish this decision had come much earlier, I’m glad we will finally quit throwing money at the failed MNLARS system and start looking for a solution that works for Minnesotans.
If you ever have comments, questions, or concerns regarding any issue related to state government, please feel free to contact me. I can be reached via phone at 651-296-3201 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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