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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Josh Heintzeman (R)

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Legislative Update (4-29-16)

Friday, April 29, 2016

Dear Neighbors,

It was a busy week at the legislature as the House passed three supplemental omnibus bills. Before I give brief summaries of these three bills, it is worth noting that these bills do not spend any new state dollars. Instead, any spending proposed comes from reprioritizing already existing funds.

K-12 and Higher Education

Last year, the House passed a fully funded state budget that included a substantial increase in funding for our schools. This year, we are reprioritizing $56 million into proven programs that will help improve education here in Minnesota. Here are a few highlights from the bill:

  • Ending a fundamental revenue disparity between metro and non-metro schools
  • Broadband investments
  • Provisions to address the teacher shortage
  • Repealing the current statute that requires school districts to default to a “last-in, first out” policy when facing reduction in force situations
  • Early learning scholarship reform

Jobs, Agriculture, and Environment

The House’s Jobs, Ag, and Environment bill addresses a number of issues affecting folks in Greater Minnesota like clean water, broadband expansion, and farm and Ag safety related issues.

Other provisions include:

  • $40 million in new funding for broadband expansion
  • Funds for workforce housing targeted in Greater Minnesota
  • Establishing a pilot program for tractor rollover protection
  • Funds for research to improve animal health and livestock disease prevention

Health and Human Services, State Government Finance, and Public Safety

Included in this year’s HHS, State Government Finance, and Public Safety bill was a provision I authored that increases penalties for persons that operate a motor vehicle without a valid driver's license.

The inspiration for this provision was brought to me by local resident, Sue Vanek, whose daughter and granddaughter were seriously injured in a car accident involving an individual who was driving with a suspended license.

In the Vanek family’s case, current law only allowed for the defendant to be charged with a misdemeanor. My provision increases driving after revocation penalties to a gross misdemeanor in case of bodily harm and immediately a gross misdemeanor on the third driving after revocation offense. These enhanced penalties offer prosecutors enhanced legal authority to prosecute repeat offenders.

In addition to this provision, the HHS, State Government Finance, and Public Safety Bill does the following:

  • Gets rid of MNsure and transitions Minnesota to the federal exchange
  • Captures waste, fraud, and abuse savings for public programs, and directs that money to long-term and community-based caregivers
  • Repeals child care unionization authority & includes reforms from the Select Committee on Affordable Child Care which take the first steps toward seriously addressing access to quality, affordable childcare. Also extends the Legislative Task Force on Child Protection
  • Eliminates non-essential travel, reduces salaries for top Dayton administration executives by 5%, and implements a hiring freeze until the end of FY2017

Staying in Touch

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns. I can be reached by phone at 651-296-4333 or via email at

Have a great weekend and God bless,