My son, James, his wife, Elise and my grandbaby, Lydia came to visit!
Here is an update with the latest news from the Capitol.
After Governor Dayton changed the parameters of budget negotiations, backtracking from his previous agreed-upon request to set three-way joint budget targets by Friday, April 28th, House and Senate Republicans released their own joint budget targets on Friday. The targets include $1.15 billion in tax relief, $372 million in additional ongoing funding for transportation, and more than $1.1 billion in increased funding for education over last biennium.
Conference committees will now use these targets early this week to craft responsibly-sized budget bills that respect taxpayers and fund state government and its essential functions over the next biennium.
With less than a month to go before we adjourn, the House and Senate have worked to get budget bills passed and negotiated in a timely manner. Our goal is to avoid last-minute lawmaking which has occurred during every legislative budget session of Governor Dayton’s tenure. That’s why we are asking Governor Dayton to join us in setting joint budget targets by this Thursday, May 4th—giving us ample time to complete our work before legislative adjournment. I hope he and his commissioners will join us soon in negotiations so we can come to a bipartisan budget compromise.
I will keep you updated.
Standing Up for Women and Taxpayers
Last week, the House acted on two bills related to the abortion industry. Both passed with bipartisan support.
The first bill, House File 809, prohibits funding for abortions from state-sponsored health programs. If signed into law, it would add Minnesota to a list of 33 other states and the federal government who have passed similar provisions. According to the Minnesota Department of Health, 43.3 percent of all abortions performed in Minnesota are taxpayer funded. As a pro-life legislator, I would like to see taxpayer funding of this end, knowing that many taxpayers across the state do not want to pay for something they view as morally wrong.
The other bill passed last week is House File 812, which would require the Minnesota Department of Health to license and inspect facilities that perform ten or more abortions per month. It would also require that these facilities meet the guidelines and set of standards put forth by accrediting/membership organizations including Planned Parenthood and the National Abortion Federation. The purpose of this legislation is to protect women at these facilities, ensuring they meet industry safety, sanitary and health standards. I think this is a commonsense and needed bill that should be supported by both pro-life and pro-choice legislators. In short, this bill puts women first—not the abortion industry.
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.