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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Brian Johnson (R)

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Legislative Update from Rep. Brian Johnson

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Town Hall Meetings

I would like to invite my constituents to several upcoming town hall meetings being held in District 32A:

  • Saturday, Feb. 16 in Braham from 10-11 a.m. (Council Chambers-201 So. Broadway Ave)
  • Tuesday, Feb. 19 in North Branch from 7-8 p.m. (North Branch High School) – Education Topics
  • Saturday, Feb. 23 in Cambridge from 10-11 a.m. (Minnco Credit Union-236 2nd Ave SW)

Please bring any comments or questions on your mind and I look forward to meeting you.

Gun Control Hearings

Many of you have contacted me about your thoughts on gun control legislation under consideration in St. Paul and I appreciate it. I sit on the House Public Safety Committee and last week we heard these proposals for over 20 hours over the course of three days. I understand many people have very passionate views on gun violence prevention and I am open to listening to all view points on these issues.

Unfortunately, I do not feel our state laws are in need of drastic change when it comes to firearm regulations. The bills we heard include legislation requiring background checks for gun shows and private sales; limiting gun permit access for some Minnesotans; and a ban on “assault weapons.” House Democrats need to explain why limiting our Second Amendment rights is a higher priority for them than enacting a state budget or expanding our economy. The fact is, bills sponsored by Democrats in Minnesota are even more restricting than what the President wants to pass. This would do nothing to keep certain firearms out of the hands of wrong-doers. Criminals are criminals. These new laws would disarm the good, law-abiding citizens.

The legislature will continue to examine these issues over the next few weeks and I will continue to update you on our progress.

State of the State

Dozens of business owners from throughout the state were special guests of House Republican members as Gov. Mark Dayton delivered his State of the Speech Address last week. The business owners participated in a very productive roundtable discussion with House members prior to Dayton's speech. They shared a wide variety of thoughts and concerns regarding Minnesota's business climate. I was proud to bring Mark Netzinger, a Physical Therapist and an important job creator for our area.

The governor started his speech by highlighting many of the good things which have transpired over the last two years, but was light on new, innovative initiatives for the future. He first took credit for the improvements Republican-led policies brought to Minnesota the last two years. We have gained 72,000 jobs in that span, our state’s bottom line is in better shape and the 2011 K-12 shift is fully paid off. In the next breath, Dayton referred to our progress as “failed experiments” and the “old order.” You can’t have it both ways, governor. The numbers tell the truth: His plan calls for $16 in tax increases for every $1 in spending reductions.

Bills Moving Forward

I’ve authored HF228 which increases penalties for wildfire arson after being contacted by law enforcement and county attorneys in our area. The bill would also make sure arsonists help pay the costs that local law enforcement are undertaking in order to fight large wildfires. Additionally, I’ve signed on to legislation that protects private data collected by license plate readers from misuse (HF488).

Meetings in St. Paul

I have been busy meeting with many visitors in between my legislative work. Here are some of the groups I met with last week:

  • Bankers from Cambridge State Bank
  • Nurses for Nurses Day on the Hill
  • Alzheimers Day on the Hill
  • MN Educational Facility Day on the Hill (this consists of staff who make the schools run on the inside)
  • MN Hospitality Day - restaurant owners from our district

Bipartisan Tax Relief for Minnesotans

On Monday night, I voted “yes” to HF6 which will adjust Minnesota law to conform to recent federal changes in tax code. House File 6 is a good bill that makes it easier for Minnesotans to file their taxes and to comply with the law. This bill puts more money in the pockets of everyday Minnesotans, making it easier for them to pay their bills, provide for their families, and keep our economy moving. Not conforming would add unnecessary burdens to taxpayers across the state.
Thank you for the honor of being your state representative.