The legislature is back at work after our Easter/Passover break. For the next month, each committee will be working on their piece of the state budget puzzle. As you know, my DFL colleagues that control the House and Senate have proposed spending over $39 billion in the next two years, a large increase over current levels, including over $2 billion in tax increases. As a new face at the Capitol, it is concerning to me the level of taxing and spending that is underway.
Many of you have contacted me through my legislative survey (if you haven’t yet, do so online here) and most of you agree there isn’t a need to increase taxes and spending right now. While the even-year (2012, 2014) is usually reserved for a bonding bill that borrows money for projects statewide, Governor Dayton and the House DFL have introduced a very large bonding bill this week to pass this session. I cannot support moving forward with a borrowing bill for $800 million before we even pass one budget bill. With only a month left to legally meet our obligation of passing a complete, balanced budget, I am worried the priorities of this legislature are simply missing the mark. If our national debt crisis has taught us one thing, it’s that more debt without a solid fiscal foundation is irresponsible. You can see the details of the House DFL bonding proposal online here.
Improving Safety through Immunity
Some of you may have heard about a bill I am co-sponsoring (HF946) which grants immunity to a person under 21 years of age that may have consumed alcohol but calls 911 on behalf of someone else requiring medical assistance. While we’d like to believe that alcohol isn’t being consumed by underage young people, they should not have fear of prosecution if they need to call an ambulance for a friend in need. This bill provides that a person under the age of 21 who consumes or possesses an alcoholic beverage is not subject to prosecution if the person contacts a 911 operator to report that the person or another person is in need of medical assistance, provided that the person who initiates the contact is the first person to make a report, provides a name and contact information, and remains and cooperates with the authorities at the scene.
I hope this will increase safety and awareness for young people and thank everyone who has contacted me about the issue. The bill continues to move forward and may be heard on the House Floor in a few weeks.
Session Update Video
Watch my most recent video update to hear more about what’s going on in St. Paul:
As always, please contact me with your thoughts and questions.