Hello from the Capitol:
This week I co-authored a bill that would require facilities that perform abortions to be licensed. I believe this bill is commonsense; if you need a license to install/repair water heaters, then you should definitely need a license to perform an abortion. I am also supporting a bill that would limit state-sponsored funding for abortions. I don’t believe that abortions should be funded by Minnesota taxpayers.
Town Hall TOMORROW:
Join me at Bernies in Faribault (129 Central Ave. S.) tomorrow at 9:00 AM for a town hall meeting. There is a lot to discuss; I hope to see you there!
Rural Finance Authority Loan Program:
Earlier this week, the House passed legislation that allocates funds to the Rural Finance Authority (RFA) loan program. The RFA partners with agricultural lenders to provide low-cost financing to farmers on terms and conditions not offered by other financial institutions. This program is an important factor in sustaining growth of the farming and agriculture economy in Minnesota.
The RFA portion of the loan is carried at a reduced interest rate to improve the cash flow of eligible farmers. We needed to act quickly due to the state's authorization to sell the bonds for the RFA program expired December 31, 2016.
The bill that passed provides a new authorization and $35 million for bonds to finance the program. Participating lenders provide 55% of the financing for the loans, and the state provides the remainder. The loans are user financed, meaning the debt service is repaid by the borrower, not the taxpayers. Since the RFA's inception, the average default rate has been .0007%.
Misuse of U.S. Bank Stadium Suites:
This week the Legislative Auditor, Jim Nobles, released a report regarding the misuse of taxpayer funded suites at U.S. Bank Stadium by officials of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority. The audit discovered that nearly half of the tickets for the suites went to family and friends of these officials, instead of their intended purpose of using them as a marketing tool to private businesses in order to pay for ongoing expenses of operating the stadium.
To quote some of the findings by the Auditor: “The Authority’s claim that it needs two suites rather than one is not supported by facts or logic.” “The Authority failed to comply with state law by not maintaining a record of who received tickets to its stadium suites.” “We concluded that the Authority’s use of the tickets violated a core ethical principle.” “Given these and other findings, we recommend that the Legislature exercise stronger control over the Authority and, specifically, its use of complimentary tickets to stadium events.”
This misuse of state resources cannot continue. The legislature is currently working to reform the Authority to make them more accountable to the taxpayers of Minnesota.
If you ever have any questions, comments, or concerns regarding any issue related to state government, please feel free to contact me at either 651-296-8237, or firstname.lastname@example.org.