Hello from St. Paul,
This week of the legislative session is known as “first deadline week,” which means that all policy bills had to be heard in either a House or Senate committee by today, March 10th. Thus it was a flurry of committee meetings, many going late into the evenings. Going forward, committees will be focused on finance bills and crafting the state budget. The House will also be taking up another health insurance reform bill on Monday; stay tuned!
I testified to a bill this week that I chief authored, House File 1607, which creates a Housing Trust Fund for local governments. Affordable housing – for seniors, our workforce, and low income residents - is a major need and economic driver in our district. My bill would provide the mechanism and local flexibility to support meeting this need. Did you know that 6,000 people commute into Red Wing every day to work? Lack of housing is one critical reason that these commuters don’t re-locate to our area. I am pleased to work on this bi-partisan legislation with the MN Housing Partnership and our local HRA.
I also testified on House File 631, that I co-authored, which establishes a “Youth Job Skills Partnership” where schools, nonprofits and manufacturers can work together to get students working, learning, and receiving credit for on-the-job training – all while in high school.
I encourage you to read more about the bills related to education & manufacturing that I am working on this session in the guest column I have submitted to our local newspapers.
This week, Governor Dayton signed a bill into law that lifts the ban of selling liquor on Sundays. Starting Sunday, July 2nd, Minnesota liquor stores will have the option to start selling alcohol between the hours of 11 AM & 6 PM on Sundays.
U.S. Bank Stadium Suites:
On Monday, the House passed legislation aimed at increasing oversight and accountability of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA) following the recent news and a report by the Legislative Auditor that taxpayer funded suite seats were being given away to MSFA board members’ families. The bill (House File 778) reforms the structure of the board and limits the use of these suites at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Controversy continues as it was reported on Sunday in the Star Tribune that former MSFA Chair: Michele Kelm-Helgen skipped to the front of the line to buy seat licenses and season tickets for the Vikings. This sort of unethical behavior by the MSFA, and misuse of taxpayer dollars, needs to come to an end. I am hopeful for swift action by the Senate and for the Governor’s signature on the bill.
Students, kindergarten through 12th grade, are encouraged to submit essays explaining how the State Capitol has shaped our collective past and how it will impact future generations. Contest winners will be invited to share their submissions during an August 12th program as part of festivities marking the completion of an extensive refurbishment of our 112-year old Capitol. Winners in each category also will receive a $1,000 college savings plan.
Essay participants can select from one of following topics:
Essays will be reviewed by a panel of state officials. Each submission must contain the student’s name, school, home address, phone number and current grade on the front page or cover sheet. Middle and high school entries must be typed in a 12-point font, double-spaced on white 8.5-by 11-inch piece of paper. Elementary school entries may be handwritten. Essays should be 250 words or fewer, and will be judged on creativity, clarity, content and adherence to the theme.
All essays must be received via email or postmarked by April 28th. Entries should be mailed to the Minnesota Department of Administration, c/o Kathy Morgan. 50 Sherburne Ave, Suite 200, St. Paul, MN 55117. Entries also may be emailed to: email@example.com.
More information on the contest also is provided at: http://mn.gov/admin/capitol-restoration/grand-opening/.
I was visited this week by constituents for Catholics at the Capitol and for Arts Advocacy Day on the Hill; I appreciated all the good discussions!
I'd like to congratulate Goodhue High School wrestler, Bailee O'Reilly, for his state championship victory! Amazing achievement!
If you ever have any questions, comments, or concerns regarding anything related to state government, please do not hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-296-8635.
I appreciate your comments and concerns as it helps me be a better representative.