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

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Legislative Update from Rep. John Burkel

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Hello from the State Capitol,


The 2024 legislative session has ended, and the complete mismanagement of the legislative agenda by both the House and Senate Democrat majorities led to unnecessary chaos during the final hours.



While numerous bills that had nothing to do with putting our state’s budget in balance – such as ranked choice voting – were brought to the floor and received significant debate, other budget bills that needed lawmaker attention did not come forward in the final days.


So, with minutes left in session Sunday night, the majority piled all of their spending proposals into one 1,430-page bill and passed it without allowing anyone to review it or ask questions about it. The bill includes spending relating to taxes, transportation, housing, labor, higher education, agriculture, energy, and human services. Also included is language relating to scope of practice, paid family leave, and a binary trigger ban for firearms. 


It was a complete mess and completely avoidable.



One piece of radical legislation championed by the extremists in the majority party ultimately failed because time had run out. The bill would have asked voters to – among other things - amend the state’s Constitution to allow abortions up to 40 weeks. It was approved by one vote in the Minnesota House but thankfully was not taken up by the Senate prior to adjournment. 


Had it passed the legislature, voters would have voted to add language to the constitution to enshrine the most extreme abortion policy in the nation – abortion up to the moment of birth, which is opposed by most Minnesotans. Because the proposal stalled in the Senate, the proposed Constitutional amendment will not be on the ballot this fall.



Rural ambulance services in Greater Minnesota are facing a financial crisis. Severe reimbursement shortfalls, aging workforces, unsustainable staffing models and increased operating costs are all forcing problems within local EMS services, and new funding is needed.


Last week, legislation was approved that will provide a $30 million boost to EMS. While it is far short of what is needed, I’m hopeful it will make a positive difference.





I’d like to offer my thanks to State Representative Deb Kiel, who served the southern portion of our Senate District 1. Deb is from Crookston and announced her retirement after 14 years in the Minnesota House. She has been extremely helpful to me over the years and I will miss her guidance and positive attitude. Congratulations Deb!