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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Joe McDonald (R)

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The home stretch

Friday, May 9, 2014



We are at that point in the session where we entertain the “other” bills on the floor as some of the big-ticket items remain background works in progress.


Take, for example, today. The full House today passed a bill which allows for medicinal use of marijuana. Formally, the bill “calls for the commissioner of health to create a voluntary registry of Minnesota patients with certain medical conditions who are then able to engage in the therapeutic use of medical cannabis.”


Yes, I am a grass-roots guy, 100 percent. I thoroughly believe in local control and am convinced the closer to home we make decisions the better. Please, D.C., leave us alone and let us do what is right for us. But, at the very least, we need to investigate this subject more thoroughly, federally. Let’s let things shake out in states like Colorado and learn from their action – both good and bad.


In any case, it is good that Minnesota’s medical marijuana bill only allows for pill and extract forms. Smoking is not permissible with this bill. This issue is likely to arise down the road, so stay in tune.


Next week will be a big one in St. Paul. Our deadline to adjourn is May 19. We still have a bonding bill ($846 million) and another rumored $200 million in project spending on top of that to hear on the House floor.


The $200 million apparently will come from surplus funds, which I would rather see given back to Minnesota taxpayers, who absorbed a $2.4 billion increase because of the majority’s action last year. (Side note: Watch for people with a “D” behind their name to tout themselves as tax-cutters this fall. Sure, they threw Wite-Out on some of the mistakes they made last year, but nearly $2 billion in tax increases will remain – even if this new tax cut is approved.)


On a separate note, this weekend is the fishing opener in Minnesota. Good luck and please do what you can to support our local economy. Fill up your tank, buy your ice and beverages, heck, hit the ice-cream stand if you plan on heading out of our area to fill your stringer. The people who run those businesses are our friends, family and neighbors. They are the backbone of our communities.




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