Here’s the latest news from St. Paul.
DFL Omnibus Bills
In the last week we have heard most of the DFL omnibus bills. Since my last update, Agriculture and Housing, Taxes, Transportation, Public Safety and Judiciary, and Higher Education have received votes, with the State Government bill and the Environment and Natural Resources bill expected to receive votes today. Some of the notable provisions are detailed below.
The Tax bill passed along party lines Thursday night, which contained a $4 billion increase in taxes over four years. Last week we heard that the Department of Revenue analyzed Governor Walz’s tax plan, which is very similar to the House Democrats’ tax plan across all their budget bills, and found that it would raise taxes on every income level, hitting those who make the least money the hardest. I voted NO.
The Transportation bill increases the gas tax by 70% and indexes it to inflation, which would give us the fourth-highest gas tax in the nation. We are currently 28th in the nation. It would also raise the Vehicle Registration Tax by $1.13 billion over four years, and the New Vehicle Sales Tax by $193.1 million over four years. In addition to those increases, it raises the Metro Sales Tax by $986 million over four years. The Transportation contains several controversial policies, including allowing immigrants here illegally to get Driver’s Licenses, and a $2 million pilot program tracking drivers every movements to then charge drivers per mile driven. I voted NO.
Public Safety and Judiciary
Unfortunately, the Public Safety and Judiciary omnibus bill contains two controversial gun control bills, the Red Flag bill and Universal Background Checks. However, the bill does include several of my bills, including Hannah’s Law, which protects children from rape and eliminates the statute of limitations on rape, protects the public from drunk drivers by mandating ignition interlock after the second DWI conviction, protects women from domestic violence by establishing a fund for domestic abuse transformation programs, and expands alternatives to incarceration for non-violent drug offenders. I am very proud of the hard work that went into my bills, and I want to thank all of the brave, strong testifiers who came to committee to advocate for these important bills. Sadly, because of the gun control bills, I voted NO.
As always, if you need assistance on an issue pertaining to state government or have concerns or ideas about legislation, 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 357 State Office Building, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, St. Paul, MN 55155.