Welcome to January! Cold, but the days are going to get longer and sunlight will become our friend soon enough. I hope we can get a little snow so people can get out to cross country ski and enjoy the winter activities. I hope we don't get too much snow to make our winter difficult.
On Tuesday, the legislative session convened for 2015 and 2016 session and I am working to respond to all the issues I have heard. This week I tackled two issues: Work force development and job growth and improving our child protection laws.
The first issue of work force development took front and center for me as I am the chief author of this bill, and it became House File #1.
House File One contains a number of provisions aimed at creating better-paying jobs, particularly in Greater Minnesota where companies have a more difficult time finding skilled workers. Some of the provisions include:
A state New Market Tax Credit for companies who make qualified venture investments in businesses in specifically determined parts of the state where jobs are needed in industries such as timber, mining, high-tech, and manufacturing.
A refundable income tax credit for people who receive a degree in science, technology, engineering, math or long-term care field in parts of the state with high workforce vacancy rates. The credit amounts to up to 50% of MnSCU tuition for the year in which the employee graduated, up to $2,500 for two-year program graduates and $5,000 for four-year program graduates.
Makes permanent a statewide pilot grant program that helps cities construct workforce rental housing to help attract qualified workers in areas that lack affordable rental options. Thief River Falls has been a commonly cited example where the rental housing market has hindered job growth.
Expediting the DNR and MPCA permitting process goal from 90 days to 45 days for Tier 1 environmental permits.
KBJR in Duluth did a story on House File One and the other bills introduced at our press conference yesterday. To watch that clip, please click here or on the image below.
On the issue of child protection, I am the Chief Author of House File #8 that will make statute changes to clarify and improve our process handling child maltreatment and abuse. I am working closely with law enforcement, county attorneys, and social services to make sure the changes are realistic and tangible.
I wish you a great weekend and hope you stay warm. As always please contact me with any questions or concerns. Rep.Ron.Kresha@house.mn or by phone at 651-296-4247.