It was a very busy week last week at the Capitol! Governor Dayton gave his State of the State address to a joint session of the legislature. Dozens of business owners from throughout the state were special guests of House Republicans. The business owners participated in a very productive roundtable discussion with House members prior to Dayton's speech. They shared a wide variety of thoughts and concerns regarding Minnesota's business climate. I had the honor of inviting Sue Sweicichowski of Cornerstone Café & Catering in Monticello as my guest for the event. Sue shared her concern that imposing a minimum wage increase might force businesses like hers to lay off employees or possibly shut down completely. As a small business owner myself, I know how hard it is to make a profit when the government is piling on extra burdens. As your voice in St. Paul, I will be fighting for policies that help small businesses thrive. We don’t need more taxes, regulations, or other burdens on our businesses.
Because of my passion for small businesses, I was named co-chair of the bipartisan House Small Business Caucus along with DFL Representative Paul Rosenthal of Edina. Paul and I are committed to finding bipartisan solutions to help small businesses in Minnesota thrive. If you own a small business, I need to hear from you. Please let me know what I can do legislatively to help your small businesses.
As you probably saw in the news, the House Public Safety Finance and Policy Committee held three days of hearings on gun control legislation last week. It was inspiring for me to see citizens from across the state take time out of their busy lives to come down to St. Paul to show their support for the Second Amendment. Some of them had never been to the Capitol before. Among my many concerns these bills is that they would make criminals of ordinary law-abiding citizens by banning various forms of legal firearms and ammunition. Please know I’m a strong supporter of the Second Amendment and will not be voting to place restrictions on it for Minnesotans. If you have family or friends who live in an area represented by a DFL member, please tell them to contact their legislator and voice their support for the Second Amendment. They can click here to find out who represents them in St. Paul.
Another thing I’m watching closely is the implementation of the healthcare exchange. One of my major concerns is the fact that the bill does nothing to assure lower health care costs for consumers, lower costs throughout the health care system, or improve the quality of care for individuals. On a party line vote, the Health and Human Services Policy Committee passed it on to the Government Operations Committee last week.
On Friday, I met with the Monticello Chamber of Commerce Government Affairs Committee to listen to their concerns about the governor’s budget and changes to the minimum wage as well as to give them an update on what’s been going on at the Capitol. Then, I had the opportunity to tour the Monticello Hospital. I know there has been some concern about the safety of the hospital. After speaking with Euretta Sorenson, the chief nursing officer, I was pleased to hear that the performance measures for the hospital have been exceptional and that the hospital is getting referrals from associated physician clinics. After the hospital tour, I met with Monticello City Administrator Jeff O’Neill (no relation) on expansion projects for the city. I also met with Buffalo City Administrator Mert Auger. I was happy to hear that the city’s airport expansion has been completed. Now, airplanes can land more safely thanks to a federal-local grant. Mr. Auger also told me that the city’s waste water treatment facility will be fully operational in the next few months and will be a one-of-a-kind in the United States. I look forward to touring it once it’s up and running.
Thank you to constituents Tonya Koenig, Steve Houston, Ben Adams, Scott Frame, and Tina Michelle Burkholder for visiting me in St. Paul this week.
As the legislative session moves forward, I am interested in your feedback. Please feel free to contact me by e-mail at Rep.Marion.ONeill@House.MN or contact my office at 651-296-5063. You can also send me mail to my office address: 229 State Office Building, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55155. Please feel free to share this e-mail with your family, friends, and neighbors so they can sign up and stay in touch.