Special session lasted from 10am last Friday to 7am on Saturday morning. We worked through the night to debate and vote on budget bills that looked very different from when they first left the House floor.
The process of getting through special session was the least transparent I have seen in my tenure as a State Representative. Most of the bills were decided using what came to be known as the “tribunal”, made up of Governor Walz, House Speaker Hortman, and Senate Majority Leader Gazelka.
The majority of the controversial policies that initially passed the House were eliminated from the budget bills. In particular, the $0.20 per gallon gas tax, many fee increases on transportation expenses and outdoor recreation activities, both gun control bills, a $68 million cut to Minnesota nursing homes, policies that would have moved Minnesota closer to becoming a sanctuary state, and giving Driver’s Licenses to illegal aliens were not included in the final bills. Also, all controversial election policy was removed from the bills.
Republicans were able to stand strong and include some great provisions in the state budget. Included in the bills were an extension of the reinsurance program, which was a Republican initiative that held down health care costs for the last several years, reversal of the 7% cut to the Disability Waiver Rate System, and funding for youth firearm safety training. Unfortunately, Democrats insisted on increasing the price of doctor visits, hospital stays, and medical procedures by bringing back the Sick Tax at 1.8%.
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.
It’s an honor to represent the best!