It is sure to be a busy week at the capitol as the first committee deadlines are this Friday. The first deadline is for committees to act favorably on bills in the house of origin. For example, if a piece of legislation has not received at least one hearing in either the House or Senate by Friday night, the bill is effectively “dead” for this year’s legislative session.
Because of this deadline, committees will be meeting into the evening all week to get bills their first hearings.
Update on SAFE Account
To date, there has still not been an agreement reached between the Senate, House, and Governor for a fund to reimburse law enforcement agencies that provide mutual aid in response to possible riots during or after the Derek Chauvin trial.
Instead of simply providing the funding requested by law enforcement agencies, Democrats have added policy language to the bill that caused law enforcement groups to withdraw their support for the bill.
Late last month, the House Democrat majority tried to pass the bill but could not find enough support within their own caucus for it to clear the House Floor. Moving forward, I hope they work with Republicans and law enforcement on this legislation.
Projected Budget Surplus
At the end of February, Minnesota Management and Budget (MMB) released an updated budget forecast. State economists reported that Minnesota now is projected to have a $1.6 billion budget surplus for the upcoming 2022-23 budget cycle. In November, these same economists were projecting a nearly $1.3 billion deficit.
We should focus our efforts on returning this projected surplus through tax relief. One specific bill I have been working on is House File 26. This bill would remove Minnesota state taxes from Social Security benefits.
This is something that I have long supported and will continue fighting to make this a reality.
One Year of Emergency Powers
This Saturday marks the first anniversary of the Governor declaring a peacetime emergency to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Governor continues to insist that emergency powers are needed and that we are still in the “emergency” phase of our response to the pandemic. In the words of Inigo Montoya from The Princess Bride, “You keep using that word, I don’t think it means what you think it means.”
COVID-19 cases across the nation and state continue to fall, vaccinations are up, and both Republican and Democrat states around the United States have started the process of reopening.
The “emergency” is over. We must now move into the management and recovery phase. To effectively do that, the voice of the people must be at the table. The legislature needs to be on equal footing with the Governor and the powers must end.
Staying in Touch
Please be sure to reach out to me if you have any questions, concerns, or ideas on ways to improve state government. I can be reached by phone at 651-296-4237 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a safe and warm day,