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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Jeff Dotseth (R)

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Legislative update

Thursday, May 25, 2023
Memorial Day

Dear Neighbor,

The 2023 legislative session ended Monday and there is much to say about what took place the last five months. But, before we do that, let’s start by recognizing the American heroes who sacrificed so much for our nation as we reach this Memorial Day weekend. I plan to attend Memorial Day events in our district and hope you are able to do so as well. Hope to see you there!

As for news from the Capitol, the recently concluded session will be most remembered for Democrats increasing state spending by more than 40 percent while raising taxes by nearly $10 billion despite a $17.5 billion state surplus.

The new two-year state budget will increase spending from $52 billion to $72 billion. Tax hikes include raising the state’s gas tax by 3.5 cents per gallon and tying it to inflation, increasing license tab fees, adding a 50-cent delivery tax, a new payroll tax that will hit employers and employees alike, and more.

It’s really out of touch with Minnesotans to increase state spending by more than 40 percent at a time Minnesotans are struggling to make ends meet with higher prices across the board. And raising taxes by almost $10 billion at a time the state already has a massive surplus is the real kicker. People see the state has the largest surplus in history and need some relief, yet Democrats are making everyday life even more expensive by making the tax burden even larger.

Meanwhile, Democrats failed to provide a full elimination of the state’s Social Security tax despite nearly universal support for that move. And, after Gov. Tim Walz began the session by supporting $2,000 surplus rebates for joint filers, Democrats ultimately approved just a fraction of that amount – $260 per person, or $520 per couple, with income thresholds of $75,000/$150,000.

Aside from state finances, Democrats enacted several highly controversial, partisan policy measures. This includes adopting some of the world’s most extreme abortion policy, enacting a state-funded speech registry that could undermine First Amendment rights, declaring Minnesota a sanctuary state for transgender healthcare for children and adopting gun-control laws that will do more to burden law-abiding citizens than thwart violent criminals. In addition, a Democrat provision will end electronic pull tabs as we know them, dealing a major blow to local charitable organizations.

My approach from the day I was sworn into office has remained on doing my best to represent all the people in District 11A. Sometimes that means working across the aisle to find bipartisan agreement with members of the Democrat trifecta of power. Other times, that means digging in my heels and standing my ground – and there’s been some of both this session.

Local projects

Both legislative bodies approved a capital investment package to fund infrastructure projects around the state Monday, just hours before the 2023 session adjourned. I am pleased to have gained funding for numerous District 11A projects, including:

  • $17.5 million: Western Lake Superior Sanitary District (Cloquet, Thompson Township, city of Carlton)
  • $10 million: Carlton County female offender and judicial facility
  • $5 million: Cloquet water infrastructure

A lot of needs have gone unmet for too long in our area, and it is good that we have made progress in getting people in St. Paul to start listening to us. These are important projects that people in our district need and I am glad we were able to deliver.

Nursing homes

Legislative Republicans scored a big win for nursing homes by successfully negotiating $300 million more than Democrats had proposed. This added funding will help that industry at a time nursing homes have been forced to close and families have been left scrambling to find care for their loved ones.

Green cemeteries

Legislation I co-authored (H.F. 2605) has been enacted by the governor, placing a moratorium until July 1, 2025 on green burials with no embalming, biodegradable caskets. Groups from outside Minnesota are pushing this practice in our state despite numerous concerns. A moratorium will, at the very least, allow for a study to take place examining potential environmental and health impacts and providing recommendations. This issue has surfaced in our area and I will continue working for a common-sense solution.

The session may have ended, but my work representing the people of our district will continue as we make our way through the summer and start looking forward to what’s in store for 2024. Your input always is welcome, and it helps me best represent people in District 11A.

Have a good Memorial Day weekend and I’ll be back with more soon.

Sincerely,

Jeff

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