Dear Friends and Neighbors,
I hope you all had a good weekend and had the energy and patience to shovel out yet again!
We’re beginning another busy week in St. Paul. Before that starts, I want to recap the two bills that the governor has signed into law thus far this session. And I'll also write a bit about our childcare shortage.
Water Infrastructure Bonding
The first bill the governor signed was a $98 million dollar bonding bill to address water infrastructure needs of local communities around the state.
These general obligation bonds are monies we converted from bonding projects previously financed last session through the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources. Lawsuits filed by numerous environmental groups challenged the 2018 funding plan, which received bipartisan legislative support on its way to being enacted by Gov. Mark Dayton. The Minnesota Management & Budget office put the projects on indefinite hold pending the outcome of the case.
The bottom line is that we have important water infrastructure projects in urgent need of repair across the state. Legislative action was needed now to avoid further delays as the court case unfolds.
The governor also signed into law legislation to provide nearly $13 million in additional funding for MNLARS, the state’s licensing system that has been plagued by problems. I’m disappointed to see that this appropriation didn’t include a detailed plan on how this would fix problems and deliver an improved system for Minnesotans. Additionally, the bill didn’t include any direct relief for deputy registrars. Deputy registrars are locally-owned DMV offices, whose owners have been hit hard and suffered financially because of the failures of MNLARS. (House Republicans have attempted to provide relief funding to these local DMV registrars in amendments to this legislation and also in previous bills from 2018 that were vetoed by Gov. Dayton.)
I recently attended an informational daycare session in Red Wing hosted by First Children’s Finance. We heard directly from childcare providers about the challenges they face staying in business as well as accounts of how difficult opening a new daycare has become. Data from First Children’s Finance indicates a shortage of 630 daycare slots in Goodhue and Wabasha Counties.
The primary reason for the childcare shortage our community and state faces is the excessive regulations imposed by the Department of Human Services. We all agree that regulations are necessary to ensure quality and safety. However, many of the regulations DHS has put in place have become unreasonable and burdensome to providers and have also driven up costs. Other challenges facing providers are the lack of resources for providers, high start-up costs, low wages, and long hours.
Had a good conversation with Tyre Horscher and Jeffrey Boigenzahn II, Corrections Officers from Red Wing.
Always great to meet with folks from the Red Wing Chamber of Commerce!
With a group from Compeer Financial, which focuses on lending for farmers and agriculture.
Staying in Touch
If you ever have any questions or concerns regarding any issue related to state government, please feel free to contact me. I can be reached by email at email@example.com or by phone at 651-296-8635.
Have a great weekend,