On Wednesday, April 30, Governor Dayton gave his State of the State Address before a joint session of the legislature. Instead of using the speech to talk about his vision for the future of the year ahead and priorities for the remainder of the 2014 Legislative Session, the governor gave more of what seemed to be a campaign speech. I was disappointed that Governor Dayton took credit for accomplishments – many of which were enacted under the Republican-controlled legislature – but took little responsibility for what has happened under one-party control of St. Paul. We heard nothing about the fact MNsure is expected to force 280,000 Minnesotans off their current health plans. We didn’t hear a word about how MNsure private plan enrollment is 83% below the Dayton Administration’s original 2014 enrollment projects. In fact, of all enrollments through MNsure, only one-fourth of enrollments are private enrollments while three-fourths are public sector enrollments according to figures released by MNsure about a month ago. Because a tax on the private plans is being implemented to fund MNsure, it’s likely that MNsure will have difficulties remaining financially solvent in the future. We also heard nothing from Governor Dayton about repealing the job-killing business-to-business taxes that the Democrat-controlled legislature and he enacted in 2013. Governor Dayton also didn’t say a word about how an $89.6 million taxpayer-funded new office building for state senators was part of a deal among St. Paul Democrats for imposing a dramatic increase in the minimum wage.
At some point this week we expect the bonding bill to come before the House. Because bonding requires borrowing, a 60% majority is needed in both chambers to pass a bonding bill. With 73 Democrats and 61 Republicans currently serving in the House, this means that eight Republican votes are needed to pass a bonding bill if all Democrats vote yes. Last session, a deal was struck between Republican and Democrat legislative leaders that the bonding bill would be no larger than $850 million. Lately, Governor Dayton has been advocating that we break that agreement for a $1.2 billion bonding bill. Frankly, I’m offended the governor would suggest we need to go back on our word to borrow even more money from taxpayers.
GPS MONITORING CONFERENCE COMMITTEE
I’m pleased to report that I’ve been appointed to a conference committee to reconcile differences between two similar bills relating to GPS monitoring that passed the House and the Senate respectively. Specifically, this legislation would permit a judicial district to use GPS monitoring in domestic abuse cases if the district adopts district-wide standards. Given that the Democrats control the House and Senate, it’s rare for a Republican legislator to be appointed to a conference committee. I’m honored to be able to find a solution to help protect those who have been victims of domestic violence.
On Monday, May 5, I joined a bipartisan group of legislators to ride the first run of the Green Line Passenger Rail from the Capitol to TCF Bank Stadium. Do you currently use transit? Would you use transit? If so, buses or trains? Also, please let me know how you believe we should be prioritizing our transportation dollars.
As always, please still feel free to contact me about any state legislative issue. 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 229 State Office Building, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, St. Paul, MN 55155.