The 2016 legislative session came to a close Sunday night and while the ending was disappointing, I think that overall we got a lot of great work done for the people of Minnesota. We put money toward our nursing homes, passed life-saving mental health legislation, invested in our schools, and kept government spending at a reasonable level. We also passed tax relief that means more money for veterans, college graduates with loan debt, farmers, and small businesses.
Despite these positives, I am saddened by the last-minute failure of the bonding and transportation bill. I’m not done working yet and I have urged Governor Dayton to call a special session so we can finish what we started. The bonding bill is too important for our community—the agreement House and Senate leaders agreed on would have included:
- Funding to expand Highway 23 from New London to Paynesville
- A new building for the Children's Mental Health Hospital in Willmar.
- Glacial Ridge bike trail from New London to Sibley
Overall the bill included $700 million in road and bridge projects for and critical projects for water infrastructure, higher education, and more throughout the state.
This year’s bonding bill was a great bill that received significant bipartisan support when it passed the House. Sadly, the Senate chose not to honor the agreement between the two legislative bodies and was unable to pass the bill. Both sides deserve share of the blame for the hurried end to session, and I agree with Speaker Daudt that there are changes we can and should make to improve the process.
We must return soon and get this bill passed so Highway 23, the Children's mental health hospital and so many other things can start moving forward. It has been my honor to serve, but my work is not done yet. I hope the Governor calls us back quickly.