Here is an update from the Capitol.
On Thursday, the House passed Real ID legislation to comply with federal mandates that make it more difficult for terrorists to obtain falsified identification. Without House File 3 becoming law, beginning in January of next year, a Minnesota-issued driver’s license will no longer be a valid form of identification to fly domestically. It is also needed so a Minnesota-issued ID can be used to enter federal facilities including military bases.
Additionally, it’s important to note a few key provisions in the bill. The legislation provides a two-track system meaning that people can either choose to get a Real-ID compliant license that will allow you to fly or enter a federal facility, or opt-out if you have concerns about federal mandates. Additionally, the bill protects the data of gun owners and prevents undocumented immigrants from getting a Minnesota driver’s license.
The bill now needs to pass out of the Senate. I will keep you updated on this important bill this session.
On Monday, for the first time in state history, the House passed standalone legislation that would repeal the Sunday ban on alcohol sales in Minnesota. I think it is past time to repeal this outdated law, allowing liquor stores to be open any day of the week they choose and giving consumers the choices they want.
If the bill also passes the Senate, Governor Dayton will sign it into law.
Subcommittee on Employee Relations
I am honored to have been recently named Chair of the Subcommittee on Employee Relations. This subcommittee assists the legislature by providing interim approval of negotiated agreements, arbitration awards, and compensation plans for employees in the executive branch. It also monitors the state civil service system and makes recommendations regarding certain state and local government salaries.
With $8.9 billion worth of employee contracts going through this committee, it’s an important stop to manage and further examine salaries and the union contracts of state employees.
Every two years, it is the job of the Legislature to elect members to the Board of Regents.
On Wednesday, the House and Senate in a joint meeting of the Legislature selected regents for the University of Minnesota. The new regents chosen include Ken Powell, the chairman and CEO of General Mills and former Minnesota House Speaker Steve Sviggum. David McMillan, an executive with Minnesota Power and attorney Darrin Rosha were both re-elected to serve another term with the Board of Regents as well.
On Thursday, the House concurred on a final bill that will facilitate the building of a natural-gas fired power plant in Becker, replacing two coal-fired units that are set to shut down. Not only will this bill help reduce emissions, but it will also provide economic and energy stability to the area, as well as keep jobs in central Minnesota.
HRO Bill Moves Forward
In the Public Safety Committee, my bill to reform Harassment Restraining Orders (HROs) was heard and laid over for possible inclusion in the committee’s omnibus bill. The bill is about protecting women, children and victims of violence by adopting working group recommendations to make it easier to serve someone who has had an HRO issued against them. Instead of only a sheriff, any peace officer would be allowed to find and serve a person with an order.
Groups I have been working with on this legislation include the courts, county attorneys, sheriffs, police and advocates against domestic violence.
I am pleased the bill is moving forward this session, as it provides a commonsense reform that allows people to be served with an HRO sooner, and has the potential to protect more victims of violence.
If you need assistance on an issue pertaining to state government, my office is available to you. You can e-mail at Rep.Marion.ONeill@House.MN or call my office at 651-296-5063. You can also write a letter to me. My office address at the Capitol is 549 State Office Building, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, St. Paul, MN 55155.