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

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Rep. Schomacker Legislative Update

Friday, April 19, 2024

Hello from the State Capitol,


With our third and final committee deadline approaching, House committees heard the Governor’s new budget proposals this week. A number of policy bills were also recently approved.



A comprehensive proposal that would streamline services offered to our veterans was overwhelmingly approved in the Minnesota House. The plan also gives approval to begin applying for federal funds in order to bring a state veterans cemetery to Bemidji.  These cemeteries ensure those who have honorably served in the armed forces are laid to rest close to their families. Currently, Minnesota has four veterans’ cemeteries, located in Duluth, Little Falls, Redwood Falls, and Preston.



Legislation designed to strengthen public safety in our state also received unanimous support on the House floor. The proposal improves predatory sex offender laws, supports crime victims and recognizes their rights, makes criminal justice reforms, and modifies some duties of the Department of Corrections. The bill now heads to the Minnesota Senate for further debate.



The House majority’s election bill did not receive bipartisan support on the House floor. In fact, it didn’t receive any Republican votes at all. In previous years, an elections bill did not move forward unless it had the support of both political parties, but that did not happen this year.


Some of the included proposals that gave some lawmakers heartburn included a new provision that allows voters to describe where they’re living while filling out a voter registration form rather than listing an actual address and imposing more unfunded mandates on our local elections’ officials. 



Comprehensive human services legislation approved by the House this week included a provision that is troubling for numerous families in southwestern Minnesota.


The initiative would eliminate the subminimum wage, which is designed to create more job opportunities for Minnesota’s disabled residents. Under this program, the person hired receives an amount that is lower than the state’s minimum wage.


In many cases, companies are able to hire people that would not be able to succeed in a traditional occupation due to their severe disability. It is a win-win situation, as the worker’s self-esteem grows because he or she is being productive and earning a paycheck while making new friends in the workplace.


It’s unfortunate the state wants to move away from this. I understand the argument for fairness. But I’ve heard much more from local families who share that without it, their family members will likely end up with no work at all. It is expected that if the subminimum wage disappears, the limited work opportunities that existed solely because of the lower wage program will be gone as well.



On Tuesday, MnDOT will be holding an open house in Luverne from 4:00-6:00 p.m. at the Trailhead, 601 E. Main Street, to learn about the Highway 75 project through Luverne, which is planned for future construction. There is no formal presentation, so feel free to attend as your schedule allows. MnDOT staff will be on hand to share information about the project.


In 2026, MnDOT will reconstruct Highway 75 from the intersection with Main Street to Veterans Drive. In addition to improving the pavement, roadway safety improvements will be made at the intersections with Main Street and Dodge Street, and pedestrian safety improvements will be made throughout the project. For more information, visit


In addition to learning about the project, I strongly encourage you to share your thoughts on Highway 75 outside of Luverne. It’s great we’re eventually getting work done within the City, but anyone who travels the road knows it is in great need of repair. This is a perfect time to speak with people within MnDOT about the necessity of an improved Highway 75 in southwestern Minnesota.



Just a reminder, if you are ever in St. Paul and have an issue to discuss, I’d be happy to meet with you. Please email or call 651.296.5505 to schedule a visit.


Have a good weekend,