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Legislative News and Views - Rep. John Burkel (R)

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Legislative Update from Rep. John Burkel

Friday, April 12, 2024

Hello from the State Capitol,


Our third and final committee deadline is approaching, which means House committees are working through a number of bills to keep them alive before session ends in mid-May. A number of policy bills were also approved on the House floor this week. Some were very popular; others were very partisan.



Legislation designed to strengthen public safety in our state also received unanimous support on the House floor, and I was happy to vote for it. The proposal improves predatory sex offender laws, supports crime victims and recognizes their rights, makes criminal justice reforms, and modifies some duties of the Department of Corrections. 


The bill now heads to the Minnesota Senate for further debate.



On Thursday, the Minnesota House approved legislation that will better ensure that victims of natural disasters will have dedicated funding. The bill adds the Disaster Assistance Contingency Account to the special revenue funds where a portion of any budget surplus must be allocated and caps the total at $50 million. 


With the flooding we’ve seen over the years, we all know how important it is to have ready funds available when disasters strike. Adding an appropriation to the budget reserve requirements is a good way to help ensure that there is money available right away when these disasters arise.



While those two policy bills were approved overwhelmingly, the House majority’s election bill did not receive bipartisan support on the House floor. In fact, it didn’t receive any Republican votes at all. 


In previous years, an elections bill did not move forward unless it had the support of both political parties, but that did not happen this year.


Some of the included proposals that gave some lawmakers heartburn included a new provision that allows voters to describe where they’re living while filling out a voter registration form rather than listing an actual address, and imposing more unfunded mandates on our local elections officials. 


This bill solves nothing. It does not secure our elections. Our goal should be to make it easy to vote and difficult to cheat. That’s not going to happen here as this legislation is only going to cause more problems.