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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Marion Rarick (R)

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Legislative Update

Monday, April 3, 2017

Dear Neighbor,

Here is an update with the latest news from the Capitol.

SF 151 Signed into Law

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Talking about my bill, SF 151, before it passed unanimously off the House Floor last week

On Wednesday of last week, the House unanimously passed Senate File 151, bipartisan legislation I authored that reforms civil forfeiture.

The bill allows an innocent joint owner of a seized vehicle to petition the court to have the vehicle returned to them. If someone is convicted of a DWI and has their vehicle taken from them, under current law and a 2009 Minnesota Supreme Court ruling, the co-owner of that car like a spouse or family member does not have legal standing in court, and all parties have lost rights to that vehicle. This change gives a co-owner the right to petition the court and demonstrate by the civil legal standard of clear and convincing evidence that they had no knowledge the vehicle would be used in this unlawful manner or reasonable steps were taken to prevent the use of the vehicle by the offender.  

This is a commonsense change to state law that gives Minnesotans a right to their day in court to plead their case for a chance to have their property returned. I am overwhelmed by the support of this legislation, and am pleased to report that Governor Dayton signed the bill into law on Monday.

Funding Our Schools and Working for Minnesota Kids

In addition to $1.35 billion in meaningful middle-class tax relief and $2.1 billion in transportation investments that focus on roads and bridges, the House also took action last week to pass the Education Omnibus Bill. Following last biennium’s historic investment in our students and schools, we are building on that by increasing funding by another $1.1 billion, putting more money in every classroom. In total, the bill allocates $18.5 billion for the biennium.

What’s more, the bill also includes a number of reforms including replacing the troubled Board of Teaching to bring additional clarity and streamlining to our teacher licensure process. This is important to help hire more great educators across the state, especially in curriculum and geographic areas with teacher shortages. Additionally, to help keep the best teachers in the classroom, the bill also repeals “the last in, first out” default in state statute which means when schools have to make difficult staff retention decisions, they can negotiate with educators to come up with a mutually beneficial policy that factors in more than just seniority.

Next, for our littlest learners and their families, this legislation redirects early learning dollars where they are best utilized, investing more than $300 million in proven initiatives including scholarships and school readiness aid. This also ensures parents can choose an early learning program that works best for their child and family.

Finally, there are a number of funding reforms included in the bill to ensure we’re making better, smarter investments in education to best serve Minnesota students, schools and educators.

The Education Omnibus Bill is about putting students first and providing every Minnesota child with an opportunity to receive a world-class education. I will keep you updated on the bill’s progress this session.

FAST Act Funding

Last week, the House also took action on legislation that helps deliver $105 million in trunk highway funding for FY 2017 under the federal Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. The bill passed in the House authorizes MnDOT to participate in the federal reimbursement. The Legislature needs to authorize the increase, or lose out on the federal funding.

FAST Act funding was included in two transportation bills last biennium that were ultimately blocked over the DFL’s insistence on a higher gas tax and Southwest Light Rail funding.

I am pleased we’re moving this initiative forward as a standalone this year so we can take advantage of federal dollars that focus on our state’s greatest transportation needs—roads and bridges.


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.



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