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

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Legislative Update (5-8-15)

Friday, May 8, 2015
Dear Neighbors,

The House passed its Agriculture Omnibus Bill on Monday with strong bipartisan support. In total, the bill spends $108.4 million, a $24.6 million dollar increase over current spending.

Along with appropriations for the Department of Agriculture, the Agriculture Utilization Research Institute, and the Board of Animal Health, the appropriations would address food safety and help rural Minnesotans and farmers in a number of ways, including measures that would:
  • Provides funds to all involved state agencies in order to better prevent and respond to the avian influenza outbreak that has devastated Minnesota turkey flocks
  • Strengthens production Ag research to improve yields and strengthen crop
  • Pay unpaid claims due to wolf depredation
  • Streamline food safety regulations between the Minnesota Department of Agriculture and the Minnesota Department of Health
  • Creates three production-based bioenergy grant programs administered by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) relating to advanced biofuel production, renewable chemical production, and biomass production which has the potential to contribute an estimated $837.6 million in activity to our state’s economy through the creation of thousands of jobs.
Agriculture plays an important role in Minnesotan’s lives. Our bill will ensure that our agricultural community continues to be a strong economic driver for our state.

Also taking place this week was a grill out on the Capitol lawn hosted by members of the House and Senate GOP Rural Caucus. Legislators grilled turkey burgers as a demonstration of support for turkey producers who have been negatively impacted by the avian flu outbreak. I was honored to participate in this event where we were able to serve 500 turkey burgers in an hour to legislators and staff. Despite the avian flu outbreak, turkey is safe to eat and I strongly encourage you to buy turkey to support Minnesota turkey producers!
Additionally, House File 916 was passed by the House on Wednesday. This bill, which was brought to me by the Crow Wing County Board of Commissioners, would make the currently-elective offices of auditor-treasurer and recorder appointive. I understand this idea is somewhat controversial, but as the Representative for Crow Wing County, I feel I need to allow our residents and local leaders the opportunity to consider this change. The people here stand to see significant services improvement and cost savings. My bill also offers an option for voters to reverse this change in the 60 days following a decision by the Commissioners.
Thank you to those of you who took time to complete my 2015 legislative survey. I appreciated receiving your feedback. Here are the results:

Do you believe state funding for nursing homes and long-term care programs for seniors and the disabled should be:

Increased: 63%
Kept the same: 33%
Reduced: 4%

Governor Dayton and the Senate DFL majority have proposed adding a 6.5% tax on fuel sales at the wholesale level to fund transportation projects. Do you support this proposal?

Yes: 27%
No: 67%
Undecided: 6%

What is the best approach for addressing the problems with the Affordable Care Act exchange in Minnesota, known as MNsure?

It isn’t working, repeal it entirely: 43%
It can be fixed by enacting significant reforms: 24%
It’s working, keep as it currently is: 14%
Give Minnesotans more options outside of MNsure: 19%

The February forecast projected a $1.9 billion surplus for Minnesota's 2016-17 budget. What should the legislature do with this surplus?

Return to taxpayers through tax relief: 37%
Increase spending on services: 7%
Invest in roads and bridges: 56%

From your perspective, what is the best way to grow jobs in Minnesota? (check all that apply)

Increase state funding for construction projects across Minnesota: 9%
Pass tax relief and incentives to encourage business growth and job creation: 33%
Limit state spending to the amount of revenue taken in and slow government growth: 26%
Use surplus funds to offer income tax relief so taxpayers can keep more of their hard-earned money: 12%
Raise taxes and increase spending on state programs: .6%
Increase education funding and focus on workforce development: 17%
Other: 5%

Currently, in tight budgeting times, school districts make layoff decisions based on teacher seniority. Some legislators are advocating for a reform that allows schools to also consider teacher effectiveness in those decisions. Do you support making this change?

Yes: 75%
No: 16%
Undecided: 9%

Do you support the federal court decision to prohibit the hunting of gray wolves?

Support: 23%
Oppose: 55%
Unsure: 22%

Thanks for taking time to read this week’s update. If you ever have a question regarding a piece of legislation or something that is being discussed here in St. Paul, please feel free to contact my office by phone at 651-296-4929 or via email at to set up an appointment. It would be an honor to speak with you and discuss ways we can make Minnesota better.